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Nat Rev Microbiol. 2012 Feb 16;10(3):213-25. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro2733.

From self sufficiency to dependence: mechanisms and factors important for autotransporter biogenesis.

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  • 1School of Immunity and Infection, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK. denisse.leyton@


Autotransporters are a superfamily of proteins that use the type V secretion pathway for their delivery to the surface of Gram-negative bacteria. At first glance, autotransporters look to contain all the functional elements required to promote their own secretion: an amino-terminal signal peptide to mediate translocation across the inner membrane, a central passenger domain that is the secreted functional moiety, and a channel-forming carboxyl terminus that facilitates passenger domain translocation across the outer membrane. However, recent discoveries of common structural themes, translocation intermediates and accessory interactions have challenged the perceived simplicity of autotransporter secretion. Here, we discuss how these studies have led to an improved understanding of the mechanisms responsible for autotransporter biogenesis.

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