All roads lead to Rome (but some may be harder to travel): SRP-independent translocation into the endoplasmic reticulum

Crit Rev Biochem Mol Biol. 2013 May-Jun;48(3):273-88. doi: 10.3109/10409238.2013.782999. Epub 2013 Mar 27.


Translocation into the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is the first biogenesis step for hundreds of eukaryotic secretome proteins. Over the past 30 years, groundbreaking biochemical, structural and genetic studies have delineated one conserved pathway that enables ER translocation- the signal recognition particle (SRP) pathway. However, it is clear that this is not the only pathway which can mediate ER targeting and insertion. In fact, over the past decade, several SRP-independent pathways have been uncovered, which recognize proteins that cannot engage the SRP and ensure their subsequent translocation into the ER. These SRP-independent pathways face the same challenges that the SRP pathway overcomes: chaperoning the preinserted protein while in the cytosol, targeting it rapidly to the ER surface and generating vectorial movement that inserts the protein into the ER. This review strives to summarize the various mechanisms and machineries which mediate these stages of SRP-independent translocation, as well as examine why SRP-independent translocation is utilized by the cell. This emerging understanding of the various pathways utilized by secretory proteins to insert into the ER draws light to the complexity of the translocational task, and underlines that insertion into the ER might be more varied and tailored than previously appreciated.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Protein Transport
  • Proteins / analysis
  • Proteins / metabolism*
  • Signal Recognition Particle / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction


  • Proteins
  • Signal Recognition Particle