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Mol Microbiol. 2006 May;60(3):553-62.

Self-compartmentalized bacterial proteases and pathogenesis.

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Department of Microbiology, New York University School of Medicine, 550 First Avenue, New York, NY 10016, USA.


Protein degradation is required for homeostasis of all living organisms. Self-compartmentalized ATP-dependent proteases are required for virulence of several pathogenic bacteria. Among the proteases implicated are ClpP and Lon, as well as the more recently identified bacterial proteasome. It is generally assumed that when a pathogen invades a host, microbial proteins become irreversibly damaged and need to be degraded. However, recent data suggest that proteolysis is also essential for virulence gene regulation. In this review, we will discuss what is known about the relationship between ATP-dependent proteolysis and pathogenesis. In addition, we will propose other potential roles these chambered proteases may have in bacterial virulence. Importantly, these proteases show promise as targets for antimicrobial therapy.

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