Moving folded proteins across membranes


  • Prof Benjamin Berks

    University of Oxford

Project summary

All bacteria produce proteins that operate on the outside of the cell. To reach their correct location these proteins must be exported across the normally impermeable cell membrane by specific transporter systems. The twin arginine translocation (Tat) system is a protein exporter with the highly unusual ability to transport folded proteins. It is required for the virulence of many common pathogens. Tat transport involves the formation of a transient transporter complex. Professor Berks has recently identified ways of following the behaviour of the Tat transporter complex in real time in living cells, of stalling the transporter complex in the assembled state, and of solubilising the transporter complex from its native membrane environment. Professor Berks will exploit these advances to address fundamental questions about the structure and mechanism of the Tat apparatus.