Signal recognition particle: an essential protein-targeting machine

Annu Rev Biochem. 2013;82:693-721. doi: 10.1146/annurev-biochem-072711-164732. Epub 2013 Feb 13.


The signal recognition particle (SRP) and its receptor compose a universally conserved and essential cellular machinery that couples the synthesis of nascent proteins to their proper membrane localization. The past decade has witnessed an explosion in in-depth mechanistic investigations of this targeting machine at increasingly higher resolutions. In this review, we summarize recent work that elucidates how the SRP and SRP receptor interact with the cargo protein and the target membrane, respectively, and how these interactions are coupled to a novel GTPase cycle in the SRP·SRP receptor complex to provide the driving force and enhance the fidelity of this fundamental cellular pathway. We also discuss emerging frontiers in which important questions remain to be addressed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism*
  • GTP Phosphohydrolases / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Mammals
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Transport
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Peptide / metabolism*
  • Signal Recognition Particle / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear
  • Receptors, Peptide
  • Signal Recognition Particle
  • signal peptide receptor
  • GTP Phosphohydrolases