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Mol Microbiol. 2005 Sep;57(5):1415-27.

Secretion of YscP from Yersinia enterocolitica is essential to control the length of the injectisome needle but not to change the type III secretion substrate specificity.

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Biozentrum der Universit├Ąt Basel, Basel, Switzerland.


The length of the needle of the Yersinia Ysc injectisome is determined by a protein called YscP. This protein, which acts both as a molecular ruler and as a substrate-specificity switch for type III secretion is itself secreted by the injectisome. In this report, we address the question why YscP is secreted. By a systematic deletion analysis and by fusing different parts of the molecule to the adenylate cyclase reporter, we identified two independent secretion signals. One of them is encompassed within the 35 N-terminal residues while the second one spans residues 97-137. These two signals are functionally different from Yop secretion signals. When both secretion signals were removed, Yops could still be secreted but the needle length control was lost. YscP possessing only one signal did not control needle length properly but the control was improved when more YscP was produced and secreted. YscP deprived of both signals could not control length, even when overproduced. We conclude from this that YscP needs to be secreted to exert its length control function but not its substrate-specificity switch function.

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