Type III export: new uses for an old pathway



Gram-negative bacteria use type III secretion (TTS) systems to translocate proteins into the extracellular environment or directly into eukaryotic cells. These complex secretory systems are assembled from over 20 different structural proteins, including 10 that have counterparts in the flagellar export pathway. Secretion substrates are directed to the TTS machinery via mRNA and/or amino acid secretion signals. TTS chaperones bind to select secretion substrates and assist in the export process. Recent progress in the understanding of TTS is reviewed.