, Volume 9, Issue 6, pp 737-745

Export of proteins across membranes: The helix reversion hypothesis

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Abstract

A model is presented which explains the biological role of the leader peptide in protein export. Along the lines of this model, the conformational changes of a protein with environment serves as a general mechanism for translocation. The leader peptide in the cytoplasm takes a hairpin like conformation which reverts to an extended helix upon integration into the membrane. The essential features of this model are in accord with recent results of protein export.