Characterization of the accessory Sec system of Staphylococcus aureus

J Bacteriol. 2008 Sep;190(18):6188-96. doi: 10.1128/JB.00300-08. Epub 2008 Jul 11.


The SraP adhesin of Staphylococcus aureus is a member of a highly conserved family of serine-rich surface glycoproteins of gram-positive bacteria. For streptococci, export of the SraP homologs requires a specialized transport pathway (the accessory Sec system). Compared to streptococci, however, SraP is predicted to differ in its signal peptide and glycosylation, which may affect its dependence on a specialized system for transport. In addition, two genes (asp4 and asp5) essential for export in Streptococcus gordonii are missing in S. aureus. Thus, the selectivity of the accessory Sec system in S. aureus may also differ compared to streptococci. To address these issues, the five genes encoding the putative accessory Sec system (secY2, secA2, and asp1-3) were disrupted individually in S. aureus ISP479C, and the resultant mutants were examined for SraP export. Disruption of secA2 resulted in the near complete loss of SraP surface expression. Similar results were seen with disruption of secY2 and asp1, asp2, or asp3. To assess whether the accessory Sec system transported other substrates, we compared secreted proteomes of ISP479C and a secA2 isogenic mutant, by two-dimensional fluorescence difference gel electrophoresis. Although two consistent differences in proteome content were noted between the strains, neither protein appeared to be a likely substrate for accessory Sec export. Thus, the accessory Sec system of S. aureus is required for the export of SraP, and it appears to be dedicated to the transport of this substrate exclusively.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adhesins, Bacterial / genetics
  • Adhesins, Bacterial / metabolism*
  • Bacterial Proteins / chemistry
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Electrophoresis, Gel, Two-Dimensional
  • Gene Expression
  • Mutagenesis
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Protein Transport
  • Proteome / genetics
  • Proteome / metabolism
  • Staphylococcus aureus / chemistry
  • Staphylococcus aureus / genetics
  • Staphylococcus aureus / metabolism*
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Adhesins, Bacterial
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Proteome