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EMBO J. 2010 Jun 2;29(11):1928-40. doi: 10.1038/emboj.2010.84. Epub 2010 May 7.

Deciphering the assembly of the Yersinia type III secretion injectisome.

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Infection Biology, Biozentrum der Universität Basel, Basel, Switzerland.


The assembly of the Yersinia enterocolitica type III secretion injectisome was investigated by grafting fluorescent proteins onto several components, YscC (outer-membrane (OM) ring), YscD (forms the inner-membrane (IM) ring together with YscJ), YscN (ATPase), and YscQ (putative C ring). The recombinant injectisomes were functional and appeared as fluorescent spots at the cell periphery. Epistasis experiments with the hybrid alleles in an array of injectisome mutants revealed a novel outside-in assembly order: whereas YscC formed spots in the absence of any other structural protein, formation of YscD foci required YscC, but not YscJ. We therefore propose that the assembly starts with YscC and proceeds through the connector YscD to YscJ, which was further corroborated by co-immunoprecipitation experiments. Completion of the membrane rings allowed the subsequent assembly of cytosolic components. YscN and YscQ attached synchronously, requiring each other, the interacting proteins YscK and YscL, but no further injectisome component for their assembly. These results show that assembly is initiated by the formation of the OM ring and progresses inwards to the IM ring and, finally, to a large cytosolic complex.

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