Envelope Stress Responses: An Interconnected Safety Net.
Outer membrane proteins (OMPs) play a central role in the integrity of the outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria. Unfolded OMPs (uOMPs) transit across the periplasm, and subsequent folding and assembly are crucial for biogenesis. Chaperones and the essential β-barrel assembly machinery (BAM) complex facilitate these processes. In vitro studies suggest that some chaperones sequester uOMPs in internal cavities during their periplasmic transit to prevent deleterious aggregation. Upon reaching the outer membrane, the BAM complex acts catalytically to accelerate uOMP folding. Complementary in vivo experiments have revealed the localization and activity of the BAM complex in living cells. Completing an understanding of OMP biogenesis will require a holistic view of the interplay among the individual components discussed here.