Control of Gene Expression by Type III Secretory Activity

Curr Opin Microbiol. 2008 Apr;11(2):128-33. doi: 10.1016/j.mib.2008.02.010. Epub 2008 Apr 8.


The bacterial flagellum and the highly related injectisome (or needle complex) are among the most complicated multi-protein structures found in Gram-negative microorganisms. The assembly of both structures is dependent upon a type III secretion system. An interesting regulatory feature unique to these systems is the coordination of gene expression with type III secretory activity. This means of regulation ensures that secretion substrates are expressed only when required during the assembly process or upon completion of the fully functional structure. Prominent within the regulatory scheme are secreted proteins and type III secretion chaperones that exert effects on gene expression at the transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels. Although the major structural components of the flagellum and injectisome systems are highly conserved, recent studies reveal diversity in the mechanisms used by secretion substrates and chaperones to control gene expression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Flagella / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial*
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria / genetics
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria / metabolism*
  • Molecular Chaperones / genetics
  • Molecular Chaperones / metabolism


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Molecular Chaperones