Structure, function and evolution of the signal recognition particle

EMBO J. 2003 Jul 15;22(14):3479-85. doi: 10.1093/emboj/cdg337.


The signal recognition particle (SRP) is a ribonucleoprotein particle essential for the targeting of signal peptide-bearing proteins to the prokaryotic plasma membrane or the eukaryotic endoplasmic reticulum membrane for secretion or membrane insertion. SRP binds to the signal peptide emerging from the exit site of the ribosome and forms a ribosome nascent chain (RNC)-SRP complex. The RNC-SRP complex then docks in a GTP-dependent manner with a membrane-anchored SRP receptor and the protein is translocated across or integrated into the membrane through a channel called the translocon. Recently considerable progress has been made in understanding the architecture and function of SRP.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / metabolism
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Humans
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Models, Biological
  • Models, Molecular
  • Protein Conformation
  • Protein Sorting Signals / physiology
  • Protein Transport
  • Ribosomes / metabolism
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Signal Recognition Particle / chemistry*
  • Signal Recognition Particle / metabolism*


  • Membrane Proteins
  • Protein Sorting Signals
  • Signal Recognition Particle