PrlA and PrlG suppressors reduce the requirement for signal sequence recognition

A. M. Flower, R. C. Doebele, T. J. Silhavy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Selection for suppressors of defects in the signal sequence of secretory proteins has led most commonly to identification of prlA alleles and less often to identification of prlG alleles. These genes, secY/prlA and secE/prlG, encode integral membrane components of the protein translocation system of Escherichia coli. We demonstrate that an outer membrane protein, LamB, that lacks a signal sequence can be exported with reasonable efficiency in both prlA and prlG suppressor strains. Although the signal sequence is not absolutely required for export of LamB, the level of export in the absence of prl suppressor alleles is exceedingly low. Such strains are phenotypically LamB-, and functional LamB can be detected only by using sensitive infectious-center assays. Suppression of the LamB signal sequence deletion is dependent on normal components of the export pathway, indicating that suppression is not occurring through a bypass mechanism. Our results indicate that the majority of the known prlA suppressors function by an identical mechanism and, further, that the prlG suppressors work in a similar fashion. We propose that both PrlA and PrlG suppressors lack a proofreading activity that normally rejects defective precursors from the export pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5607-5614
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of bacteriology
Issue number18
StatePublished - 1994

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Microbiology


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