Membrane targeting and translocation of bacterial hydrogenases
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Periplasmic or membrane-bound bacterial hydrogenases are generally composed of a small subunit and a large subunit. The small subunit contains a peculiar N-terminal twin-arginine signal peptide, whereas the large subunit lacks any known targeting signal for export. Genetic and biochemistry data support the assumption that the large subunit is cotranslocated with the small subunit across the cytoplasmic membrane. Indeed, the signal peptide carried by the small subunit directs both the small and the large subunits to the recently identified Mtt/Tat pathway, independently of the Sec machinery. In addition, the twin-arginine signal peptide of hydrogenase is capable of directing protein import into the thylakoidal lumen of chloroplasts via the homologous ΔpH-driven pathway, which is independent of the Sec machinery. Therefore, the translocation of hydrogenase shares characteristics with the ΔpH-driven import pathway in terms of Sec-independence and requirement for the twin-arginine signal peptide, and with protein import into peroxisomes in a "piggyback" fashion.
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