Characterization of the SRP68/72 interface of human signal recognition particle by systematic site-directed mutagenesiss

Elena Iakhiaeva, Cynthia S. Hinck, Andrew P. Hinck, Christian Zwieb

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9 Scopus citations


The signal recognition particle (SRP) is a ribonucleoprotein complex which is crucial for the delivery of proteins to cellular membranes. Among the six proteins of the eukaryotic SRP, the two largest, SRP68 and SRP72, form a stable SRP68/72 heterodimer of unknown structure which is required for SRP function. Fragments 68e′ (residues 530 to 620) and 72b′ (residues 1 to 166) participate in the SRP68/72 interface. Both polypeptides were expressed in Escherichia coli and assembled into a complex which was stable at high ionic strength. Disruption of 68e′/72b′ and SRP68/72 was achieved by denaturation using moderate concentrations of urea. The four predicted tetratricopeptide repeats (TPR1 to TPR4) of 72b′ were required for stable binding of 68e′. Site-directed mutagenesis suggested that they provide the structural framework for the binding of SRP68. Deleting the region between TPR3 and TPR4 (h120) also prevented the formation of a heterodimer, but this predicted alpha-helical region appeared to engage several of its amino acid residues directly at the interface with 68e′. A 39-residue polypeptide (68h, residues 570-605), rich in prolines and containing an invariant aspartic residue at position 585, was found to be active. Mutagenesis scanning of the central region of 68h demonstrated that D585 was solely responsible for the formation of the heterodimer. Coexpression experiments suggested that 72b′ protects 68h from proteolytic digestion consistent with the assertion that 68h is accommodated inside a groove formed by the superhelically arranged four TPRs of the N-terminal region of SRP72.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2183-2195
Number of pages13
JournalProtein Science
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2009


  • Protein sorting
  • Protein-protein interactions
  • SRP
  • Signal recognition particle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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