Bacteriophage M13 procoat protein inserts into the plasma membrane as a loop structure

Science  04 Dec 1987:
Vol. 238, Issue 4832, pp. 1413-1415
DOI: 10.1126/science.3317833


The major coat protein of bacteriophage M13 is synthesized as a precursor, the procoat, with a typical leader (signal) sequence of 23 residues at its NH2-terminus. A fusion protein that contains the NH2-terminal 141 residues of cytoplasmic ribulokinase and all but the first ten residues of M13 procoat was made. The fusion protein inserts into the plasma membrane of Escherichia coli and is processed by leader peptidase to give rise to a leader peptide of 155 residues and the mature coat protein of 50 residues. The NH2-terminus of the leader peptide remains in the cytoplasm and is protected from protease added to the medium outside of the cell. This indicates that M13 procoat inserts into the membrane as a loop structure and that the NH2-terminus of a leader peptide remains within the cytoplasm during membrane insertion.