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Müller, Günter; Zimmermann, Richard (1988): Import of honeybee prepromelittin into the endoplasmic reticulum. Energy requirements for membrane insertion. In: The EMBO Journal Online, Vol. 7, No. 3: pp. 639-648


The import of small precursor proteins, derived from the honeybee secretory protein prepromelittin, into dog pancreas microsomes is independent of signal recognition particle (SRP) and docking protein, but requires that charged amino acids at the amino terminus of the mature part are counterbalanced by amino acids with the opposite charge at the carboxy terminus. The import pathway of such precursor proteins was resolved into two sequential steps: (i) binding of precursors to microsomes, and (ii) insertion of precursors into the membrane. Formation of an intramolecular disulfide bridge within the mature part of these precursor proteins allowed association of the oxidized precursors with the microsomal membrane but reversibly inhibited their membrane insertion. Furthermore, membrane insertion was inhibited by ATP depletion. Different prepromelittin derivatives were found to depend on ATP to varying degrees. We conclude that insertion of prepromelittin-derived precursor proteins into microsomal membranes involves a competent conformation of the precursor proteins and that, in general, this is accomplished with the help of both a cytoplasmic component and ATP.