• An alternative pathway for membrane protein biogenesis at the endoplasmic reticulum.

      O'Keefe, Sarah; orcid: 0000-0002-1744-0198; email: sarah.okeefe@manchester.ac.uk; Zong, Guanghui; orcid: 0000-0002-7335-039X; Duah, Kwabena B; Andrews, Lauren E; Shi, Wei Q; orcid: 0000-0001-5453-1753; High, Stephen; orcid: 0000-0002-4532-8152; email: stephen.high@manchester.ac.uk (2021-07-01)
      The heterotrimeric Sec61 complex is a major site for the biogenesis of transmembrane proteins (TMPs), accepting nascent TMP precursors that are targeted to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) by the signal recognition particle (SRP). Unlike most single-spanning membrane proteins, the integration of type III TMPs is completely resistant to small molecule inhibitors of the Sec61 translocon. Using siRNA-mediated depletion of specific ER components, in combination with the potent Sec61 inhibitor ipomoeassin F (Ipom-F), we show that type III TMPs utilise a distinct pathway for membrane integration at the ER. Hence, following SRP-mediated delivery to the ER, type III TMPs can uniquely access the membrane insertase activity of the ER membrane complex (EMC) via a mechanism that is facilitated by the Sec61 translocon. This alternative EMC-mediated insertion pathway allows type III TMPs to bypass the Ipom-F-mediated blockade of membrane integration that is seen with obligate Sec61 clients.
    • Membrane protein biogenesis at the ER: the highways and byways

      O'Keefe, Sarah; orcid: 0000-0002-1744-0198; email: sarah.okeefe@manchester.ac.uk; Pool, Martin R.; orcid: 0000-0003-3071-1535; email: martin.r.pool@manchester.ac.uk; High, Stephen; orcid: 0000-0002-4532-8152; email: stephen.high@manchester.ac.uk (2021-06-05)
      The Sec61 complex is the major protein translocation channel of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), where it plays a central role in the biogenesis of membrane and secretory proteins. Whilst Sec61‐mediated protein translocation is typically coupled to polypeptide synthesis, suggestive of significant complexity, an obvious characteristic of this core translocation machinery is its surprising simplicity. Over thirty years after its initial discovery, we now understand that the Sec61 complex is in fact the central piece of an elaborate jigsaw puzzle, which can be partly solved using new research findings. We propose that the Sec61 complex acts as a dynamic hub for co‐translational protein translocation at the ER, proactively recruiting a range of accessory complexes that enhance and regulate its function in response to different protein clients. It is now clear that the Sec61 complex does not have a monopoly on co‐translational insertion, with some transmembrane proteins preferentially utilising the ER membrane complex instead. We also have a better understanding of post‐insertion events, where at least one membrane‐embedded chaperone complex can capture the newly inserted transmembrane domains of multi‐span proteins and co‐ordinate their assembly into a native structure. Having discovered this array of Sec61‐associated components and competitors, our next challenge is to understand how they act together in order to expand the range and complexity of the membrane proteins that can be synthesised at the ER. Furthermore, this diversity of components and pathways may open up new opportunities for targeted therapeutic interventions designed to selectively modulate protein biogenesis at the ER.