Right Place, Right Time: Focalization of Membrane Proteins in Gram-Positive Bacteria

Trends Microbiol. 2016 Aug;24(8):611-621. doi: 10.1016/j.tim.2016.03.009. Epub 2016 Apr 23.


Membrane proteins represent a significant proportion of total bacterial proteins and perform vital cellular functions ranging from exchanging metabolites and genetic material, secretion and sorting, sensing signal molecules, and cell division. Many of these functions are carried out at distinct foci on the bacterial membrane, and this subcellular localization can be coordinated by a number of factors, including lipid microdomains, protein-protein interactions, and membrane curvature. Elucidating the mechanisms behind focal protein localization in bacteria informs not only protein structure-function correlation, but also how to disrupt the protein function to limit virulence. Here we review recent advances describing a functional role for subcellular localization of membrane proteins involved in genetic transfer, secretion and sorting, cell division and growth, and signaling.

Keywords: Gram-positive; focal localization; membrane protein.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / physiology
  • Bacterial Secretion Systems / physiology
  • Cell Division / physiology
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cell Membrane / physiology
  • Gram-Positive Bacteria / metabolism*
  • Gram-Positive Bacteria / physiology*
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Membrane Proteins / physiology*
  • Protein Sorting Signals
  • Protein Transport
  • Transformation, Genetic
  • Virulence


  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins
  • Bacterial Secretion Systems
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Protein Sorting Signals