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Cell. 2001 Jan 12;104(1):143-52.

Cytolysin-mediated translocation (CMT): a functional equivalent of type III secretion in gram-positive bacteria.

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Department of Molecular Microbiology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA.


Type III secretion for injection of effector proteins into host cells has not been described for Gram-positive bacteria despite their importance in disease. Here, we describe an injection pathway for the Gram-positive pathogen Streptococcus pyogenes that utilizes streptolysin O (SLO), a cholesterol-dependent cytolysin. The data support a model in which an effector is translocated through the SLO pore by a polarized process. The effector, SPN (S. pyogenes NAD-glycohydrolase), is capable of producing the potent second messenger cyclic ADP-ribose, and SLO and SPN act synergistically to trigger cytotoxicity. These data provide a novel paradigm for the function of the cholesterol-dependent cytolysin family and its wide distribution suggests that cytolysin-mediated translocation (CMT) may be the equivalent of type III secretion for Gram-positive pathogens.

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