Selective contribution of the twin-arginine translocation pathway to protein secretion in Bacillus subtilis

Jan D.H. Jongbloed, Haike Antelmann, Michael Hecker, Reindert Nijland, Sierd Bron, Ulla Airaksinen, Frens Pries, Wim J. Quax, Jan Maarten Van Dijl*, Peter G. Braun

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

106 Citations (Scopus)


The availability of the complete genome sequence of Bacillus subtilis has allowed the prediction of all exported proteins of this Gram-positive eubacterium. Recently, ∼180 secretory and 114 lipoprotein signal peptides were predicted to direct protein export from the cytoplasm. Whereas most exported proteins appear to use the Sec pathway, 69 of these proteins could potentially use the Tat pathway, as their signal peptides contain RR- or KR-motifs. In the present studies, proteomic techniques were applied to verify how many extracellular B. subtilis proteins follow the Tat pathway. Strikingly, the extracellular accumulation of 13 proteins with potential RR/KR-signal peptides was Tat-independent, showing that their RR/KR-motifs are not recognized by the Tat machinery. In fact, only the phosphodiesterase PhoD was shown to be secreted in a strictly Tat-dependent manner. Sodium azide-inhibition of SecA strongly affected the extracellular appearance of de novo synthesized proteins, including the lipase LipA and two other proteins with predicted RR/KR-signal peptides. The SecA-dependent export of pre-LipA is particularly remarkable, because its RR-signal peptide conforms well to stringent criteria for the prediction of Tat-dependent export in Escherichia coli. Taken together, our observations show that the Tat pathway makes a highly selective contribution to the extracellular proteome of B. subtilis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44068-44078
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number46
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2002
Externally publishedYes

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