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Published February 2, 2018 | public
Journal Article

Two-Step Membrane Binding by the Bacterial SRP Receptor Enables Efficient and Accurate Co-Translational Protein Targeting


The signal recognition particle (SRP) delivers ∼30% of the proteome to the eukaryotic endoplasmic reticulum, or the bacterial plasma membrane. The precise mechanism by which the bacterial SRP receptor, FtsY, interacts with and is regulated at the target membrane remain unclear. Here, quantitative analysis of FtsY-lipid interactions at single-molecule resolution revealed a two-step mechanism in which FtsY initially contacts membrane via a Dynamic mode, followed by an SRP-induced conformational transition to a Stable mode that activates FtsY for downstream steps. Importantly, mutational analyses revealed extensive auto-inhibitory mechanisms that prevent free FtsY from engaging membrane in the Stable mode; an engineered FtsY pre-organized into the Stable mode led to indiscriminate targeting in vitro and disrupted FtsY function in vivo. Our results show that the two-step lipid-binding mechanism uncouples the membrane association of FtsY from its conformational activation, thus optimizing the balance between the efficiency and fidelity of co-translational protein targeting.

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© 2018 Biophysical Society. Available online 6 February 2018.

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