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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2004 Nov 11;1694(1-3):207-17.

Type III flagellar protein export and flagellar assembly.

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Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Yale University, 0734, 266 Whitney Avenue, P.O. Box 208114, New Haven, CT 06520-8114, USA.


Bacterial flagella, unlike eukaryotic flagella, are largely external to the cell and therefore many of their subunits have to be exported. Export is ATP-driven. In Salmonella, the bacterium on which this chapter largely focuses, the apparatus responsible for flagellar protein export consists of six membrane components, three soluble components and several substrate-specific chaperones. Other flagellated eubacteria have similar systems. The membrane components of the export apparatus are housed within the flagellar basal body and deliver their substrates into a channel or lumen in the nascent structure from which point they diffuse to the far end and assemble. Both on the basis of sequence similarities of several components and structural similarities, the flagellar protein export systems clearly belong to the type III superfamily, whose other members are responsible for secretion of virulence factors by many species of pathogenic bacteria.

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