The Needle Length of Bacterial Injectisomes Is Determined by a Molecular Ruler

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Science  05 Dec 2003:
Vol. 302, Issue 5651, pp. 1757-1760
DOI: 10.1126/science.1091422

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Size determination represents a fundamental requirement for multicomponent biological structures. Some pathogenic bacteria possess a weapon derived from the flagellum. Like the flagellum, this type-III secretion apparatus, called the injectisome, has a transmembrane basal body, but the external component is a needle-like structure instead of a hook and a filament. Here, we provide evidence that the length of this needle is determined by the size of a protein, YscP, acting as a molecular ruler.

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