Protein transport across the endoplasmic reticulum membrane

Delivered on 8 July 2007 at the 32nd FEBS Congress in Vienna, Austria


T. A. Rapoport, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Department of Cell Biology, Harvard Medical School, 240 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA
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A decisive step in the biosynthesis of many eukaryotic proteins is their partial or complete translocation across the endoplasmic reticulum membrane. A similar process occurs in prokaryotes, except that proteins are transported across or are integrated into the plasma membrane. In both cases, translocation occurs through a protein-conducting channel that is formed from a conserved, heterotrimeric membrane protein complex, the Sec61 or SecY complex. Structural and biochemical data suggest mechanisms that enable the channel to function with different partners, to open across the membrane and to release laterally hydrophobic segments of membrane proteins into lipid.