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Trends Microbiol. 2007 May;15(5):191-5. Epub 2007 Mar 26.

Putative type IV secretion genes in Bacillus anthracis.

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Department of Genetics, Institute of Biochemistry and Biophysics PAS, 02-106 Warsaw, Poland.


Although the physiology of Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax, has been studied extensively, we still do not know how toxins are dispatched from the bacterial cell. Here, by means of distant homology and genome context analyses, we identify genes encoding putative type IV secretion system-related elements on the B. anthracis plasmids pXO1 and pXO2 and in the chromosome. We argue that this type IV secretion system-like system could be responsible for anthrax toxin secretion, although we also discuss the possibilities of its involvement in the processes of sporulation, germination or conjugation.

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