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EMBO J. 1995 May 15;14(10):2298-306.

Protein secretion by hybrid bacterial ABC-transporters: specific functions of the membrane ATPase and the membrane fusion protein.

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Unité de Physiologie Cellulaire, Institut Pasteur Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris, France.


The Erwinia chrysanthemi metalloprotease C and the Serratia marcescens haem acquisition protein HasA are both secreted from Gram-negative bacteria by a signal peptide-independent pathway which requires a C-terminal secretion signal and a specific ABC-transporter made up of three proteins: a membrane ATPase (the ABC-protein), a second inner membrane component belonging to the membrane fusion protein family and an outer membrane polypeptide. HasA and protease C transporters are homologous although the secreted polypeptides share no sequence homology. Whereas protease C can use both translocators, HasA is secreted only by its specific transporter. Functional analysis of protease C and HasA secretion through hybrid transporters obtained by combining components from each system demonstrates that the ABC-protein is responsible for the substrate specificity and that inhibition of protease C secretion in the presence of HasA results from a defective interaction between HasA and the ABC-protein. We also show that the outer membrane protein, TolC, can combine with the membrane fusion protein HasE in the presence of either ABC-protein to form a functional transporter but not with the membrane fusion protein, PrtE. This indicates a specific interaction between the outer membrane component and the membrane fusion protein.

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