Insertion of a malE B-Galactosidase fusion protein into the envelope of Escherichia coli disrupts biogenesis of outer membrane proteins and processing of inner membrane proteins
Bassford, Phillip J.
Holland, I. Barry
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The synthesis of a membrane-bound MalE ,B-galactosidase hybrid protein, when induced by growth of Escherichia coli on maltose, leads to inhibition of cell division and eventually a reduced rate of mass increase. In addition, the relative rate of synthesis of outer membrane proteins, but not that of inner membrane proteins, was reduced by about 50%o. Kinetic experiments demonstrated that this reduction coincided with the period of maximum synthesis of the hybrid protein (and another maltose-inducible protein, LamB). The accumulation of this abnormal protein in the envelope therefore appeared specifically to inhibit the synthesis, the assembly of outer membrane proteins, or both, indicating that the hybrid protein blocks some export site or causes the sequestration of some limiting factor(s) involved in the export process. Since the MalE protein is normally located in the periplasm, the results also suggest that the synthesis of periplasmic and outer membrane proteins may involve some steps in common. The reduced rate of synthesis of outer membrane proteins was also accompanied by the accumulation in the envelope of at least one outer membrane protein and at least two inner membrane proteins as higher-molecular-weight forms, indicating that processing (removal of the N-terminal signal sequence) was also disrupted by the presence of the hybrid protein. These results may indicate that the assembly of these membrane proteins is blocked at a relatively late step rather than at the level of primary recognition of some site by the signal sequence. In addition, the results suggest that some step common to the biogenesis of quite different kinds of envelope protein is blocked by the presence of the hybrid protein.