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Title: The biosynthesis and membrane integration of P2X₂ at the endoplasmic reticulum
Author: Cross, Benedict C. S.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3397 7035
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2008
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A crucial step in the biosynthesis of membrane proteins is their incorporation into the hydrophobic environment of the lipid bilayer. In eukaryotic cells this event occurs largely in concert with translation on ribosomes bound to the membrane of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) at a site termed the ER translocon. This dynamic proteinaceous complex forms an aqueous conduit across the ER membrane and is laterally gated to allow transmembrane (TM) segments to partition into the lipid phase. In the case of polytopic membrane proteins, the coordinated release of multiple TM segments by the ER translocon is a poorly defined process and appears to be highly substratespecific. In this study, the ion channel subunit P2X2 was used as a novel model to examine themolecular details of membrane protein integration at the ER translocon. A primarily in vitro approach was taken using stable biosynthetic intermediates to simulate each stage of the membrane translocation and integration of P2X2. Chemical and photoreactive site-specific cross-linking analyses were then conducted to determine the molecular environment of the P2X2 TM segments throughout biosynthesis. Remarkably, both TM1 and TM2 of P2X2 were found to remain directly adjacent to the ER translocon throughout P2X2 biosynthesis and were only dislocated into the lipid phase by artificial termination of translation and disruption of the ribosome-translocon interaction. Retention of P2X2 TM1 at the ER translocon is maintained despite the synthesis of over 300 amino acid residues separating it from the ribosome peptidyl transferase centre. Premature dislocation of TM1 from the ER translocon site resulted in a pronounced aggregation of TM1 fragments both in vitro and in vivo. This is in stark contrast to previous passive-partitioning models of membrane integration and suggests that the ER translocon regulates the integration of polytopic membrane proteins in order to accommodate the specific requirementsof the substrate protein itself. The detailed characterisation of P2X2 biosynthesis was then exploited in order to examine the effect of a novel small inhibitor of ER translocon function. Eeyarestatin 1 (ESI) was found to cause a substantial inhibition of protein secretion in vivo and dramatically reduced the ER translocation of three distinct classes of substrate, including P2X2, in vitro. Using both a cross-linking analysis and a protease-protection assay for a specialised translocation reaction, ESI was shown to prevent the transfer of the nascent polypeptide chain from the membrane delivery machinery to the ER translocon complex. Further evidence that ESI targets the Sec61 complex is presented and a model for ESI-mediated inhibition of ER translocation is suggested. Taken together these data establish ESI as a novel small molecule inhibitor that selectively inhibits protein translocation both in vitroand in vivo.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Membrane protein biognesis ; Site-specific cross-linking ; Eeyarestatin ; Small molecule inhibitors