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Translocase Introduction

The enzyme classification and nomenclature list was first approved by the International Union of Biochemistry in 1961. Six enzyme classes have been recognized based on the type of chemical reaction catalyzed, including oxidoreductases (EC 1), transferases (EC 2), hydrolases (EC 3), lyases (EC 4), isomerases (EC 5) and ligases (EC 6). However, it was not noticed back at the time that none of these classes clearly describe an important group of enzymes, which move ions or molecules across membranes or their separation within membranes. Although the hydrolytic reaction is not the primary function, several of these enzymes are involved the hydrolysis of ATP had been previously classified as ATPases (EC 3.6.3.-). Nowadays, these enzymes have been classified under a new EC class of translocases (EC 7).


Translocase is a general term for a protein that assists in moving another molecule, usually across a cell membrane. These enzymes catalyze the movement of ions or molecules across membranes or their separation within membranes. The reaction is designated as a transfer from “side 1” to “side 2” because the designations “in” and “out”, which had previously been used, can be ambiguous. Translocases are the most common secretion system in Gram positive bacteria.

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