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How bacteria integrate autotransporters into their outer membrane
Date:9/23/2013

s PhD fellowship, "also forms a barrel with a pore. The pore is closed to the outside by a lid but a particular kink in the barrel wall provides a gate for autotransporter substrates." When an unfolded autotransporter is delivered, TamA hooks onto one end of the substrate polypeptide chain and integrates it step by step via the gate into its own barrel structure. The TamA barrel is thus expanded; the pore widens and opens such that passenger substrates traverse to the exterior. The assembly process ends when TamA releases the autotransporter into the surrounding membrane. "The autotransporter insertion mechanism was previously completely enigmatic for the first time, knowing the structure of TamA, we can now picture how assembly and translocation could function."

Assembly process important for infections

Many pathogens, such as the diarrhea causing Yersinia, Salmonella or the Cholera pathogen, belong to the group of Gram-negative bacteria. With the help of the autotransporter, they release toxins or adhesive proteins to infect their host cells. In their study, Maier and Hiller provide completely new findings about membrane insertion of autotransporters as well as the translocation of their cargo.


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Contact: Olivia Poisson
olivia.poisson@unibas.ch
University of Basel
Source:Eurekalert

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