Biophysical Society Conference | Tahoe 2024

Molecular Biophysics of Membranes

Wednesday Speaker Abstracts

MEMBRANE PROTEIN SEQUENCE FEATURES THAT OPTIMIZE THEIR INSERTION AND FOLDING Nir Fluman ; Ilya A Kalinin 1 ; Hadas Peled-Zehavi 1 ; 1 Weizmann Institute of Science, Biomolecular Sciences, Rehovot, Israel The proper folding of multispanning membrane proteins (MPs) hinges on the accurate insertion of their transmembrane helices (TMs) into the membrane. Predominantly, TMs are inserted during protein translation, via a conserved mechanism centered around the Sectranslocon. Our study reveals that the C-terminal TMs (cTMs) of numerous MPs across various organisms bypass this cotranslational route, necessitating an alternative posttranslational insertion strategy. We demonstrate that evolution has refined the hydrophilicity and length of these proteins’ C terminal tails to optimize cTM insertion. Alterations in the C-tail sequence disrupt cTM insertion in both E. coli and human, leading to protein defects, loss of function, and genetic diseases. In E. coli, we identify YidC, a member of the widespread Oxa1 family, as the insertase facilitating cTMs insertion, with C-tail mutations disrupting the productive interaction of cTMs with YidC. Thus, MP sequences are fine-tuned for effective collaboration with the cellular biogenesis machinery, ensuring proper membrane protein folding.


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