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Nat Rev Microbiol. 2007 May;5(5):363-75.

The tad locus: postcards from the widespread colonization island.

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Department of Microbiology, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, 701 West 168th Street, New York 10032, USA.


The Tad (tight adherence) macromolecular transport system, which is present in many bacterial and archaeal species, represents an ancient and major new subtype of type II secretion. The tad genes are present on a genomic island named the widespread colonization island (WCI), and encode the machinery that is required for the assembly of adhesive Flp (fimbrial low-molecular-weight protein) pili. The tad genes are essential for biofilm formation, colonization and pathogenesis in the genera Aggregatibacter (Actinobacillus), Haemophilus, Pasteurella, Pseudomonas, Yersinia, Caulobacter and perhaps others. Here we review the structure, function and evolution of the Tad secretion system.

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