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The Tat protein transport system is found in the cytoplasmic membrane of prokaryotes and the thylakoid membrane of plant chloroplasts. Unusually, the Tat system translocates proteins only after they have folded. Proteins are targeted to the Tat system by specific N-terminal signal peptides. High resolution structures have recently been determined for the TatA and TatC proteins that form the Tat translocation site. These structures provide a molecular framework for understanding the mechanism of Tat transport. The interactions between TatC and the signal peptide of the substrate protein can be provisionally modelled. However, the way that TatA and TatC combine in the active translocation site remains to be definitively established.

Original publication




Journal article


Curr Opin Struct Biol

Publication Date





32 - 37


Gene Products, tat, Protein Sorting Signals, Protein Transport