Assembly and Secretion of Oligomeric Toxins

  • Timothy R. Hirst
  • Maria Sandkvist
  • Robert Aitken
  • Michael Bagdasarian
Part of the Federation of European Microbiological Societies Symposium Series book series (FEMS, volume 51)


Pathogenic microorganisms produce a myriad of different virulence factors that range in complexity from polymers of simple disaccharides to multimeric protein toxins and adhesins. This structural and functional diversity belies a common biosynthetic requirement shared by all virulence factors: that they must cross the membrane of the bacterium in which they are produced before they can gain access to the host and express their pathogenic properties. The processes of membrane translocation result in either the complete secretion of a pathogenic molecule into the external milieu, eg. extracellular toxins, siderophores etc., or to their assembly onto the bacterial surface, as in the case of adhesins, pili, outer membrane porins, and carbohydrate capsules. In this paper we discuss the mechanisms of protein export and secretion in bacterial cells, and in particular the secretion of complex oligomeric toxins that are responsible for causing cholera and related diarrhoeal diseases.


Outer Membrane Cytoplasmic Membrane Membrane Translocation Protein Export Subunit Assembly 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Timothy R. Hirst
    • 1
  • Maria Sandkvist
    • 2
  • Robert Aitken
    • 1
  • Michael Bagdasarian
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of GeneticsUniversity of LeicesterLeicesterGreat Britain
  2. 2.Michigan Biotechnology InstituteLansingUSA

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