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Structure. 2011 May 11;19(5):603-12. doi: 10.1016/j.str.2011.03.015.

Biogenesis, regulation, and targeting of the type III secretion system.

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Bacterial Pathogenesis Group, Institut de Biologie Structurale, Université Grenoble I, 38027 Grenoble, France.


The type III secretion system (T3SS) is employed by a number of Gram-negative bacterial pathogens to inject toxins into eukaryotic cells. The biogenesis of this complex machinery requires the regulated interaction between over 20 cytosolic, periplasmic, and membrane-imbedded proteins, many of which undergo processes such as polymerization, partner recognition, and partial unfolding. Elements of this intricate macromolecular system have been characterized through electron microscopy, crystallography, and NMR techniques, allowing for an initial understanding of the spatiotemporal regulation of T3SS-related events. Here, we report recent advances in the structural characterization of T3SS proteins from a number of bacteria, and provide an overview of recently identified small molecule T3SS inhibitors that could potentially be explored for novel antibacterial development.

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