Biosynthesis of complex multi-subunit membrane proteins

Lead Research Organisation: University of Dundee
Department Name: College of Life Sciences


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Technical Summary

The Tat protein transport system is a remarkable molecular machine dedicated to the transport of fully folded proteins across energy-transducing membranes. In an exciting new development we have established that up to one fifth of all traffic on the Escherichia coli Tat pathway are integral membrane proteins. One of the main integral membrane proteins assembled by the Tat pathway is the nitrate-inducible formate dehydrogenase. Assembly and integration mechanisms for this multi-subunit respiratory enzyme are so efficient that it can account for a very high proportion of total membrane protein. This project aims to determine the mechanism of Tat-dependent membrane protein targeting and integration into the lipid bilayer. We will also address the wider cellular processes governing assembly of the mechanism of Tat-dependent membrane protein formate dehydrogenase. Tat-dependent integral membrane proteins are present in a whole spectrum of biological systems therefore studies of the model prokaryote E. coli would set a paradigm in the field.
Description New understanding on the biosynthesis of bacterial formate dehydrogenases - enzymes that can produce, or consume, CO2. It was also established beyond doubt that the signal peptides of some special metalloenzymes are processed by a particular protease.
Exploitation Route Being able to engineer formate dehydrogenases may help tackle atmospheric CO2 levels. In addition, a conditional-lethal strain that we developed has already been put to use by fellow scientists around the world.

The University has an effective Research & Innovation Services Team that will be consulted with as appropriate.
Sectors Chemicals,Education,Energy,Environment

Description Fellow scientists have used our publications (and reagents including strains) to guide their current experiments.
First Year Of Impact 2009
Sector Education
Impact Types Societal

Description Magnificent Microbes 2010 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Interactive stalls and activities.

Pupils and public were asked to complete questionairres after the event - teh feedback was positive.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010