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A Virulence Locus of Pseudomonas aeruginosa Encodes a Protein Secretion Apparatus

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Science  09 Jun 2006:
Vol. 312, Issue 5779, pp. 1526-1530
DOI: 10.1126/science.1128393

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Abstract

Bacterial pathogens frequently use protein secretion to mediate interactions with their hosts. Here we found that a virulence locus (HSI-I) of Pseudomonas aeruginosa encodes a protein secretion apparatus. The apparatus assembled in discrete subcellular locations and exported Hcp1, a hexameric protein that forms rings with a 40 angstrom internal diameter. Regulatory patterns of HSI-I suggested that the apparatus functions during chronic infections. We detected Hcp1 in pulmonary secretions of cystic fibrosis (CF) patients and Hcp1-specific antibodies in their sera. Thus, HSI-I likely contributes to the pathogenesis of P. aeruginosa in CF patients. HSI-I–related loci are widely distributed among bacterial pathogens and may play a general role in mediating host interactions.

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