Membranes play an important role in the metabolic and functional organization of cells. They divide cells into compartments with a specific subset of proteins and functions. Compartmentalization necessitates constant transport of proteins into and across membranes. Furthermore, cells constantly regulate the protein complement of each subcellular compartment in relation to demand. To achieve this high degree of organization, selective protein transport processes are required. It is a major challenge of molecular cell biology to understand the mechanistic principles of how a polypeptide chain is transported across a lipid bilayer, to define how specificity is brought about by translocation systems and to understand how these systems are regulated to achieve protein homeostasis.
This EMBO Conference, which is the third in a series, aims for a comprehensive understanding of the molecular mechanisms of protein translocation. It brings together scientists working on different model organisms (bacteria, yeast, plant, human cells), compartments (ER, mitochondria chloroplasts, peroxisomes), and from different disciplines such as structural biology, cell biology, biochemistry, genetics and biophysics. The interdisciplinary character of this conference series and its dedication to foster an understanding of a central biological process, the specific transport of polypeptides across a biological membrane, will be critical for the further development of this important research field.