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Curr Opin Microbiol. 2017 Apr;36:30-36. doi: 10.1016/j.mib.2017.01.009. Epub 2017 Feb 10.

Post-transcriptional regulation of type III secretion in plant and animal pathogens.

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Department of Microbiology, University of Iowa, United States.
Department of Microbiology, University of Iowa, United States. Electronic address:


Type III secretion systems (T3SS) serve as a primary anti-host defense mechanism for many Gram-negative plant and animal pathogens. T3SS production is tightly controlled and activated by host-associated signals. Although transcriptional responses represent a significant component of the activation cascade, recent studies have uncovered diverse post-transcriptional mechanisms that also contribute to T3SS production. Targets for post-transcriptional control are often AraC/XylS transcription factors that promote T3SS gene expression. Commons mechanisms of post-transcriptional regulation include direct control of either the activity of AraC/XylS transcription factors by protein ligands, small molecules, or post-translational modification, or transcription factor synthesis. In the latter case, RNA-binding proteins such as Hfq, CsrA/RsmA, and components of the RNA degradosome alter mRNA stability and/or the rate of translation initiation to control transcription factor synthesis. Here we summarize post-transcriptional mechanisms that contribute to the exquisite regulation of T3SS gene expression.

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