The segregation of secretory proteins into the cisternae of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is normally tightly coupled to their synthesis. This feature distinguishes their biogenesis from that of proteins targeted to many other organelles. In the examples presented, translocation across the ER membrane is dissociated from translation. Transport, which is normally cotranslational, may proceed in the absence of chain elongation. Moreover, translocation across the ER membrane does not proceed spontaneously since, even in the absence of protein synthesis, energy substrates are required for translocation. These conclusions have been extended to the cotranslational integration of newly synthesized transmembrane proteins.
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