Send to

Choose Destination
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2000 Aug 29;97(18):10225-30.

Molecular characterization and assembly of the needle complex of the Salmonella typhimurium type III protein secretion system.

Author information

Section of Microbial Pathogenesis, Boyer Center for Molecular Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06536, USA.


Many bacterial pathogens of plants and animals have evolved a specialized protein-secretion system termed type III to deliver bacterial proteins into host cells. These proteins stimulate or interfere with host cellular functions for the pathogen's benefit. The Salmonella typhimurium pathogenicity island 1 encodes one of these systems that mediates this bacterium's ability to enter nonphagocytic cells. Several components of this type III secretion system are organized in a supramolecular structure termed the needle complex. This structure is made of discrete substructures including a base that spans both membranes and a needle-like projection that extends outward from the bacterial surface. We demonstrate here that the type III secretion export apparatus is required for the assembly of the needle substructure but is dispensable for the assembly of the base. We show that the length of the needle segment is determined by the type III secretion associated protein InvJ. We report that InvG, PrgH, and PrgK constitute the base and that PrgI is the main component of the needle of the type III secretion complex. PrgI homologs are present in type III secretion systems from bacteria pathogenic for animals but are absent from bacteria pathogenic for plants. We hypothesize that the needle component may establish the specificity of type III secretion systems in delivering proteins into either plant or animal cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center