Skip to content

Unlocking the bacterial SecY translocon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
DateAccepted/In press - 27 Jan 2016
DatePublished (current) - 10 Mar 2016


The Sec translocon performs protein secretion and membrane protein insertion at the plasma membrane of bacteria and archaea (SecYEG/β), and the endoplasmic reticular membrane of eukaryotes (Sec61). Despite numerous structures of the complex, the mechanism underlying translocation of pre-proteins, driven by the ATPase SecA in bacteria, remains unresolved. Here we present a series of biochemical and computational analyses exploring the consequences of signal sequence binding to SecYEG. The data demonstrate that a signal sequence-induced movement of transmembrane helix 7 unlocks the translocon and that this conformational change is communicated to the cytoplasmic faces of SecY and SecE, involved in SecA binding. Our findings progress the current understanding of the dynamic action of the translocon during the translocation initiation process. The results suggest that the converging effects of the signal sequence and SecA at the cytoplasmic face of SecYEG are decisive for the intercalation and translocation of pre-protein through the SecY channel. Corey et al. have used biochemical and computational techniques to analyze conformational changes in the bacterial SecYEG translocon upon signal sequence binding. These structural effects are likely key to understanding how the translocon is primed for translocation by the concerted action of the signal sequence and the ATPase SecA.

Download statistics

No data available




View research connections

Related faculties, schools or groups