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EMBO Rep. 2001 Mar;2(3):244-8.

An inner membrane platform in the type II secretion machinery of Gram-negative bacteria.

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Laboratoire de Chimie Bactérienne, IBSM, CNRS, 31 chemin Joseph Aiguier, Marseille Cedex 20, 13402, France.


The type II secretion machinery allows most Gram-negative bacteria to deliver virulence factors into their surroundings. We report that in Erwinia chrysanthemi, GspE (the putative NTPase), GspF, GspL and GspM constitute a complex in the inner membrane that is presumably used as a platform for assembling other parts of the secretion machinery. The GspE-GspF-GspL-GspM complex was demonstrated by two methods: (i) co-immunoprecipitation of GspE-GspF-GspL with antibodies raised against either GspE or GspF; (ii) interactions in the yeast two-hybrid system between GspF and GspE, GspF and GspL, GspL and GspM. GspL was found to have an essential role in complex formation. We propose a model in which the GspE-GspF-GspL-GspM proteins constitute a building block within the secretion machinery on top of which another building block, referred to as a pseudopilus, assembles. By analogy, we predict that a similar platform is required for the biogenesis of the type IV pilus.

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