Due to their topology tail-anchored (TA) proteins must target to the membrane independently of the co-translational route defined by the signal sequence recognition particle (SRP), its receptor and the translocon Sec61. More than a decade of work has extensively characterized a highly conserved pathway, the yeast GET or mammalian TRC40 pathway, which is capable of countering the biogenetic challenge posed by the C-terminal TA anchor. In this review we briefly summarize current models of this targeting route and focus on emerging aspects such as the intricate interplay with the proteostatic network of cells and with other targeting pathways. Importantly, we consider the lessons provided by the in vivo analysis of the pathway in different model organisms and by the consideration of its full client spectrum in more recent studies. This analysis of the state of the field highlights directions in which the current models may be experimentally probed and conceptually extended.
Keywords: Endoplasmic reticulum; Membrane targeting; Mitochondrial outer membrane; Peroxisomes; TRC40; Tail-anchored protein.