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Mol Microbiol. 2005 Dec;58(5):1468-81.

Determinants of the streptococcal surface glycoprotein GspB that facilitate export by the accessory Sec system.

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Veterans Affairs Medical Center and the University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA.


GspB is a large cell-surface glycoprotein expressed by Streptococcus gordonii M99 that mediates binding of this organism to human platelets. This adhesin is glycosylated in the cytoplasm, and is then transported to the cell surface via an accessory Sec system. To assess the structural features of GspB that are needed for export, we examined the effects of altering the carbohydrate moieties or the polypeptide backbone of GspB. Truncated, glycosylated variants of GspB were exported exclusively via the accessory Sec pathway. When glycosylation was abolished, the GspB variants were still exported by this pathway, but minor amounts could also be transported by the canonical Sec system. GspB variants with in-frame insertions or deletions in the N-terminus were not secreted, indicating that this domain is necessary for export. However, the N-terminus is not sufficient for the transport of heterologous proteins, because C-terminal fusion of passenger proteins to this domain hindered export. In contrast, fusion of GspB to a canonical signal peptide resulted in the efficient export of non-glycosylated forms of the fusion protein via the canonical Sec pathway, whereas glycosylated forms could not be exported. Thus, the carbohydrate moieties and the atypical signal sequence of GspB interfere with export via the canonical pathway, and direct GspB towards the accessory Sec system.

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