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Expression of the endogenous type II secretion pathway in Escherichia coli leads to chitinase secretion.

Francetic O., Belin D., Badaut C., Pugsley A.P.

Escherichia coli K-12, the most widely used laboratory bacterium, does not secrete proteins into the extracellular medium under standard growth conditions, despite possessing chromosomal genes encoding a putative type II secretion machinery (secreton). We show that in wild-type E.coli K-12, divergent transcription of the two operons in the main chromosomal gsp locus, encoding the majority of the secreton components, is silenced by the nucleoid-structuring protein H-NS. In mutants lacking H-NS, the secreton genes cloned on a moderate-copy-number plasmid are expressed and promote efficient secretion of the endogenous, co-regulated endochitinase ChiA. This is the first time that secretion of an endogenous extracellular protein has been demonstrated in E.coli K-12.

EMBO J. 19:6697-6703(2000) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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