The SecA subunit of E. coli preprotein translocase promotes protein secretion during cycles of membrane insertion and deinsertion at SecYEG. This process is regulated both by nucleotide binding and hydrolysis and by the SecD and SecF proteins. In the presence of associated preprotein, the energy of ATP binding at nucleotide-binding domain 1 (NBD1) drives membrane insertion of a 30 kDa domain of SecA, while deinsertion of SecA requires the hydrolysis of this ATP. SecD and SecF stabilize the inserted state of SecA. ATP binding at NBD2, though needed for preprotein translocation, is not needed for SecA insertion or deinsertion.