Membrane binding of SRP pathway components in the halophilic archaea Haloferax volcanii

Eur J Biochem. 2004 Apr;271(7):1382-90. doi: 10.1111/j.1432-1033.2004.04050.x.


Across evolution, the signal recognition particle pathway targets extra-cytoplasmic proteins to membranous translocation sites. Whereas the pathway has been extensively studied in Eukarya and Bacteria, little is known of this system in Archaea. In the following, membrane association of FtsY, the prokaryal signal recognition particle receptor, and SRP54, a central component of the signal recognition particle, was addressed in the halophilic archaea Haloferax volcanii. Purified H. volcanii FtsY, the FtsY C-terminal GTP-binding domain (NG domain) or SRP54, were combined separately or in different combinations with H. volcanii inverted membrane vesicles and examined by gradient floatation to differentiate between soluble and membrane-bound protein. Such studies revealed that both FtsY and the FtsY NG domain bound to H. volcanii vesicles in a manner unaffected by proteolytic pretreatment of the membranes, implying that in Archaea, FtsY association is mediated through the membrane lipids. Indeed, membrane association of FtsY was also detected in intact H. volcanii cells. The contribution of the NG domain to FtsY binding in halophilic archaea may be considerable, given the low number of basic charges found at the start of the N-terminal acidic domain of haloarchaeal FtsY proteins (the region of the protein thought to mediate FtsY-membrane association in Bacteria). Moreover, FtsY, but not the NG domain, was shown to mediate membrane association of H. volcanii SRP54, a protein that did not otherwise interact with the membrane.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Archaea / metabolism
  • Arginine / chemistry
  • Bacterial Proteins / chemistry
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism*
  • Cytoplasm / metabolism
  • Endopeptidase K / chemistry
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism
  • Haloferax volcanii / metabolism*
  • Immunoblotting
  • Lysine / chemistry
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Plasmids / metabolism
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear / chemistry
  • Signal Recognition Particle / metabolism*
  • Subcellular Fractions / metabolism
  • Time Factors


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • FtsY protein, Bacteria
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear
  • Signal Recognition Particle
  • Arginine
  • Endopeptidase K
  • Lysine