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Publication - Dr Dakang SHEN

    The Architecture of the Cytoplasmic Region of Type III Secretion Systems


    Makino, F, Shen, D, Kajimura, N, Kawamoto, A, Pissaridou, P, Oswin, H, Pain, M, Cabeza, IM, Namba, K & Blocker, AJ, 2016, ‘The Architecture of the Cytoplasmic Region of Type III Secretion Systems’. Scientific Reports, vol 6.


    Type III secretion systems (T3SSs) are essential devices in the virulence of many Gram-negative bacterial pathogens. They mediate injection of protein effectors of virulence from bacteria into eukaryotic host cells to manipulate them during infection. T3SSs involved in virulence (vT3SSs) are evolutionarily related to bacterial flagellar protein export apparatuses (fT3SSs), which are essential for flagellar assembly and cell motility. The structure of the external and transmembrane parts of both fT3SS and vT3SS is increasingly well-defined. However, the arrangement of their cytoplasmic and inner membrane export apparatuses is much less clear. Here we compare the architecture of the cytoplasmic regions of the vT3SSs of Shigella flexneri and the vT3SS and fT3SS of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium at ~5 and ~4 nm resolution using electron cryotomography and subtomogram averaging. We show that the cytoplasmic regions of vT3SSs display conserved six-fold symmetric features including pods, linkers and an ATPase complex, while fT3SSs probably only display six-fold symmetry in their ATPase region. We also identify other morphological differences between vT3SSs and fT3SSs, such as relative disposition of their inner membrane-attached export platform, C-ring/pods and ATPase complex. Finally, using classification, we find that both types of apparatuses can loose elements of their cytoplasmic region, which may therefore be dynamic.

    Full details in the University publications repository