Preprotein translocation in Escherichia coli is mediated by the translocase with SecA as peripheral ATPase and SecY, SecE, and SecG as membrane domain. To facilitate large-scale purification of the SecYEG heterotrimer, SecY was fused at its amino terminus with a hexahistidine tag and co-overexpressed with SecE and SecG. The presence of the His tag allowed purification of homogeneously pure SecYEG complex by a single anion-exchange chromatographic step starting from octyl glucoside-solubilized inner membranes. Endogenous levels of SecD and SecF copurified with the SecYEG protein. Purified SecYEG complex retained a nativelike, alpha-helical conformation in octyl glucoside and in micellar solution binds SecA with high affinity. In the presence of the nonhydrolyzable nucleotide analogue adenosine 5'-(beta, gamma-imidotriphosphate), octyl glucoside-solubilized SecYEG is nearly as effective as the reconstituted enzyme in inducing the formation of a proteinase K-protected 30 kDa fragment of 125I-labeled SecA, while SecYEG is proteolyzed to fragments smaller than 6 kDa. These data demonstrate that the 30-kDa SecA fragment is not protected by the lipid phase nor by SecYEG but rather indicate that it represents a SecYEG- and nucleotide-induced stable conformational state of a SecA domain.