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Structure and Function of the Type III Secretion System of Pseudomonas aeruginosa

[ Vol. 13 , Issue. 8 ]


Marlies Galle, Isabelle Carpentier and Rudi Beyaert   Pages 831 - 842 ( 12 )


Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a dangerous pathogen particularly because it harbors multiple virulence factors. It causes several types of infection, including dermatitis, endocarditis, and infections of the urinary tract, eye, ear, bone, joints and, of particular interest, the respiratory tract. Patients with cystic fibrosis, who are extremely susceptible to Pseudomonas infections, have a bad prognosis and high mortality. An important virulence factor of P. aeruginosa, shared with many other gram-negative bacteria, is the type III secretion system, a hollow molecular needle that transfers effector toxins directly from the bacterium into the host cell cytosol. This complex macromolecular machine works in a highly regulated manner and can manipulate the host cell in many different ways. Here we review the current knowledge of the structure of the P. aeruginosa T3SS, as well as its function and recognition by the immune system. Furthermore, we describe recent progress in the development and use of therapeutic agents targeting the T3SS.


Disease, immunity, immune evasion, infection, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, therapy, Type III secretion system, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Inv-Mxi-Sp, SPI-1


Department of Biomedical Molecular Biology, Ghent University, Technologiepark 927, B-9052 Ghent, Belgium.

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