Common principles of protein translocation across membranes

Science. 1996 Mar 15;271(5255):1519-26. doi: 10.1126/science.271.5255.1519.


Most major systems that transport proteins across a membrane share the following features: an amino-terminal transient signal sequence on the transported protein, a targeting system on the cis side of the membrane, a hetero-oligomeric transmembrane channel that is gated both across and within the plane of the membrane, a peripherally attached protein translocation motor that is powered by the hydrolysis of nucleoside triphosphate, and a protein folding system on the trans side of the membrane. These transport systems are divided into two families: export systems that export proteins out of the cytosol, and import systems that transport proteins into cytosol-like compartments.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Bacteria / metabolism
  • Biological Transport
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism*
  • Chloroplasts / metabolism
  • Cytosol / metabolism
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / metabolism
  • GTP Phosphohydrolases / metabolism
  • Intracellular Membranes / metabolism*
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Microbodies / metabolism
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Molecular Chaperones / metabolism
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Protein Folding
  • Protein Sorting Signals / metabolism
  • Proteins / metabolism*


  • Membrane Proteins
  • Molecular Chaperones
  • Protein Sorting Signals
  • Proteins
  • GTP Phosphohydrolases