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The Journal of Biochemistry
Vol. 124 (1998) No. 1 P 122-129

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Protein translocation across the cytoplasmic membrane of Escherichia coli is accomplished by concerted actions of the translocation ATPase SecA and the membrane-embedded SecE/Y/G complex. SecA interacts with preproteins and undergoes ATP-driven cycles of membrane insertion-deinsertion. To address how SecA interacts functionally with other components in the translocation machinery, we characterized a SecA mutant lacking amino-terminal 8 amino acid residues (SecA N-8). Although the absence of the 8 residues did not grossly affect the interaction of SecA with a preprotein, ATP, or phospholipids, nor did it affect the intrinsic ATPase activity, it gave differential effects on the translocation of different preproteins. It also affected the translocation ATPase activity, the ability of membrane insertion, and the topology inversion of SecG coupled with the membrane insertion-deinsertion of SecA. Most noteworthy, SecA N-8 was pronouncedly defective in the translocation of proton motive force-dependent preproteins, in which SecG might have a role. We propose that the amino-terminal region of SecA is important for the functional interaction with SecG.

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