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Microbiology. 2009 May;155(Pt 5):1613-22. doi: 10.1099/mic.0.025155-0. Epub 2009 Apr 16.

Investigation of the role of the BAM complex and SurA chaperone in outer-membrane protein biogenesis and type III secretion system expression in Salmonella.

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INRA, UR1282 Infectiologie Animale et Santé Publique, F-37380 Nouzilly, France.


In Escherichia coli, the assembly of outer-membrane proteins (OMP) requires the BAM complex and periplasmic chaperones, such as SurA or DegP. Previous work has suggested a potential link between OMP assembly and expression of the genes encoding type-III secretion systems. In order to test this hypothesis, we studied the role of the different lipoproteins of the BAM complex (i.e. BamB, BamC, BamD and BamE), and the periplasmic chaperones SurA and DegP, in these two phenotypes in Salmonella. Analysis of the corresponding deletion mutants showed that, as previously described with the DeltabamB mutant, BamD, SurA and, to a lesser extent, BamE play a role in outer-membrane biogenesis in Salmonella Enteritidis, while the membrane was not notably disturbed in DeltabamC and DeltadegP mutants. Interestingly, we found that BamD is not essential in Salmonella, unlike its homologues in Escherichia coli and Neisseria gonorrhoeae. In contrast, BamD was the only protein required for full expression of T3SS-1 and flagella, as demonstrated by transcriptional analysis of the genes involved in the biosynthesis of these T3SSs. In line with this finding, bamD mutants showed a reduced secretion of effector proteins by these T3SSs, and a reduced ability to invade HT-29 cells. As DeltasurA and DeltabamE mutants had lower levels of OMPs in their outer membrane, but showed no alteration in T3SS-1 and flagella expression, these results demonstrate the absence of a systematic link between an OMP assembly defect and the downregulation of T3SSs in Salmonella; therefore, this link appears to be related to a more specific mechanism that involves at least BamB and BamD.

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