Table of Contents
ISRN Molecular Biology
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 708203, 15 pages
Review Article

Assembly of the β-Barrel Outer Membrane Proteins in Gram-Negative Bacteria, Mitochondria, and Chloroplasts

School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287, USA

Received 2 October 2012; Accepted 22 October 2012

Academic Editors: H.-C. Lee and T.-L. Lee

Copyright © 2012 Rajeev Misra. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In the last decade, there has been an explosion of publications on the assembly of β-barrel outer membrane proteins (OMPs), which carry out diverse cellular functions, including solute transport, protein secretion, and assembly of protein and lipid components of the outer membrane. Of the three outer membrane model systems—Gram-negative bacteria, mitochondria and chloroplasts—research on bacterial and mitochondrial systems has so far led the way in dissecting the β-barrel OMP assembly pathways. Many exciting discoveries have been made, including the identification of β-barrel OMP assembly machineries in bacteria and mitochondria, and potentially the core assembly component in chloroplasts. The atomic structures of all five components of the bacterial β-barrel assembly machinery (BAM) complex, except the β-barrel domain of the core BamA protein, have been solved. Structures reveal that these proteins contain domains/motifs known to facilitate protein-protein interactions, which are at the heart of the assembly pathways. While structural information has been valuable, most of our current understanding of the β-barrel OMP assembly pathways has come from genetic, molecular biology, and biochemical analyses. This paper provides a comparative account of the β-barrel OMP assembly pathways in Gram-negative bacteria, mitochondria, and chloroplasts.