Biochimica et Biophysica Acta. Molecular Cell Research vol:1694 issue:1-3 pages:67-80
Most secretory proteins that are destined for the periplasm or the outer membrane are exported through the bacterial plasma membrane by the Sec translocase. Translocase is a complex nanomachine that moves processively along its aminoacyl polymeric substrates effectively pumping them to the periplasmic space. The salient features of this process are: (a) a membrane-embedded "clamp" formed by the trimeric SecYEG protein, (b) a "motor" provided by the dimeric SecA ATPase, (c) regulatory subunits that optimize catalysis and (d) both chemical and electrochemical metabolic energy. Significant recent strides have allowed structural, biochemical and biophysical dissection of the export reaction. A model incorporating stepwise strokes of the translocase nanomachine at work is discussed.