Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The Escherichia coli Tat protein export pathway transports folded proteins synthesized with N-terminal twin-arginine signal peptides. Twin-arginine signal sequences contain a conserved SRRxFLK "twin-arginine" amino acid sequence motif which is required for protein export by the Tat pathway. The E. coli trimethylamine N-oxide reductase (TorA) is a Tat-dependent periplasmic molybdoenzyme that facilitates anaerobic respiration with trimethylamine N-oxide as terminal electron acceptor. Here, we describe mutant strains constructed with modified TorA twin-arginine signal peptides. Substitution of the second arginine residue of the TorA signal peptide twin-arginine motif with either lysine or aspartate, or the simultaneous substitution of both arginines with lysine residues, completely abolished export. In each case, the now cytoplasmically localised TorA retained full enzymatic activity with the artificial electron donor benzyl viologen. However, the mutant strains were incapable of anaerobic growth with trimethylamine N-oxide and the non-fermentable carbon-source glycerol. The growth phenotype of the mutant strains was exploited in a genetic screen with the aim of identifying second-site suppressor mutations that allowed export of the modified TorA precursors.

Original publication




Journal article


Arch Microbiol

Publication Date





107 - 112


Amino Acid Sequence, Arginine, Base Sequence, Escherichia coli, Escherichia coli Proteins, Membrane Transport Proteins, Molecular Sequence Data, Oxidoreductases, N-Demethylating, Protein Sorting Signals, Suppression, Genetic