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Mol Microbiol. 2005 Apr;56(2):303-8.

Measure for measure in the control of type III secretion hook and needle length.

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Dynamic NanoMachine Project, ICORP, JST, 1-3 Yamadaoka, Suita, Osaka 565-0871, Japan.


Bacterial flagella and injectisomes are supramolecular structures that are responsible for motility and for delivering toxic proteins into the cytosol of eukaryotic cells, respectively. They look very similar to each other. Both systems are called type III secretion pathways, and their components share substantial sequence similarities. One remarkable feature of the type III systems is that the length of their substructure is fairly well controlled by a secretion switching machinery, which consists of at least two proteins, a length control protein and an integral membrane secretion component. Here, we review how and why the length of these structures must be accurately controlled.

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