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J Med Microbiol. 2002 May;51(5):374-384. doi: 10.1099/0022-1317-51-5-374.

Distribution of type III secretion gene clusters in Burkholderia pseudomallei, B. thailandensis and B. mallei.

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Department of Medical Microbiology and Genitourinary Medicine, University of Liverpool, Duncan Building, Daulby Street, Liverpool L69 3GA, UK.


Burkholderia pseudomallei, the causative agent of melioidosis, carries a cluster of genes closely related in organisation to the type III secretion (TTS) system gene clusters of the plant pathogens Ralstonia solanacearum and Xanthomonas spp. The TTS gene cluster (TTS1) is present only in B. pseudomallei and not in avirulent B. thailandensis. Adjacent to the gene cluster encoding putative secreton structural proteins lie a number of open reading frames (ORFs) encoding putative proteins with little or no homology to known proteins, with the exception of one predicted protein with homology to Pseudomonas syringae HrpK. In both R. solanacearum and Xanthomonas spp., genes in this location encode secreted effector proteins. RT-PCR analysis indicated that TTS genes, including two of these ORFs, are expressed in broth at 37 degrees C. Analysis of genome sequence data identified a second cluster of TTS genes (TTS2) present in both B. pseudomallei and B. mallei (99% identity). However, B. mallei appears to lack the TTS1 gene cluster. PCR assays indicated that TTS2 was also present in B. thailandensis. TTS1 and TTS2 are similar in gene organisation, but nucleotide sequences are sufficiently divergent to suggest that the two TTS systems may have different roles.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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