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Science. 1998 Apr 24;280(5363):602-5.

Supramolecular structure of the Salmonella typhimurium type III protein secretion system.

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  • 1Department of Biosciences, Teikyo University, 1-1 Toyosatodai, Utsunomiya 320, Japan.


The type III secretion system of Salmonella typhimurium directs the translocation of proteins into host cells. Evolutionarily related to the flagellar assembly machinery, this system is also present in other pathogenic bacteria, but its organization is unknown. Electron microscopy revealed supramolecular structures spanning the inner and outer membranes of flagellated and nonflagellated strains; such structures were not detected in strains carrying null mutations in components of the type III apparatus. Isolated structures were found to contain at least three proteins of this secretion system. Thus, the type III apparatus of S. typhimurium, and presumably other bacteria, exists as a supramolecular structure in the bacterial envelope.

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