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J Membr Biol. 2006;214(2):75-90. Epub 2007 Jun 2.

Protein secretion and membrane insertion systems in gram-negative bacteria.

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Division of Biological Sciences, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093-0116, USA.


In contrast to other organisms, gram-negative bacteria have evolved numerous systems for protein export. Eight types are known that mediate export across or insertion into the cytoplasmic membrane, while eight specifically mediate export across or insertion into the outer membrane. Three of the former secretory pathway (SP) systems, type I SP (ISP, ABC), IIISP (Fla/Path) and IVSP (Conj/Vir), can export proteins across both membranes in a single energy-coupled step. A fourth generalized mechanism for exporting proteins across the two-membrane envelope in two distinct steps (which we here refer to as type II secretory pathways [IISP]) utilizes either the general secretory pathway (GSP or Sec) or the twin-arginine targeting translocase for translocation across the inner membrane, and either the main terminal branch or one of several protein-specific export systems for translocation across the outer membrane. We here survey the various well-characterized protein translocation systems found in living organisms and then focus on the systems present in gram-negative bacteria. Comparisons between these systems suggest specific biogenic, mechanistic and evolutionary similarities as well as major differences.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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