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Curr Opin Struct Biol. 2008 Apr;18(2):258-66. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2008 Feb 6.

Piecing together the type III injectisome of bacterial pathogens.

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University of British Columbia, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the Center for Blood Research, Rm 4350 Life Sciences Center, 2350 Health Sciences Mall, Vancouver, Canada V6T 1Z3.


The Type III secretion system is a bacterial 'injectisome' which allows Gram-negative bacteria to shuttle virulence proteins directly into the host cells they infect. This macromolecular assembly consists of more than 20 different proteins put together to collectively span three biological membranes. The recent T3SS crystal structures of the major oligomeric inner membrane ring, the helical needle filament, needle tip protein, the associated ATPase, and outer membrane pilotin together with electron microscopy reconstructions have dramatically furthered our understanding of how this protein translocator functions. The crucial details that describe how these proteins assemble into this oligomeric complex will need a hybrid of structural methodologies including EM, crystallography, and NMR to clarify the intra- and inter-molecular interactions between different structural components of the apparatus.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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