The general secretory pathway: a general misnomer?

Trends Microbiol. 2004 Jul;12(7):306-9. doi: 10.1016/j.tim.2004.05.002.


The term general secretory pathway (GSP) has been usurped and misused in the literature over the past few years. The concept of GSP is discussed from an historical perspective, and the definitions of the general export pathway (GEP), the main terminal branch (MTB) of the GSP, the unified GSP nomenclature and the type II, IV and V secretion pathways are also described to show how they have fuelled the confusion. By putting the record straight and using novel findings within the field of bacterial protein secretion, we hope to bring clarity to this area of science and prevent further promulgation of incorrect terminologies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria / genetics*
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria / metabolism*
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Protein Transport*
  • Terminology as Topic


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Macromolecular Substances