The type II secretion system: biogenesis, molecular architecture and mechanism

Nat Rev Microbiol. 2012 Apr 2;10(5):336-51. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro2762.


Many gram-negative bacteria use the sophisticated type II secretion system (T2SS) to translocate a wide range of proteins from the periplasm across the outer membrane. The inner-membrane platform of the T2SS is the nexus of the system and orchestrates the secretion process through its interactions with the periplasmic filamentous pseudopilus, the dodecameric outer-membrane complex and a cytoplasmic secretion ATPase. Here, recent structural and biochemical information is reviewed to describe our current knowledge of the biogenesis and architecture of the T2SS and its mechanism of action.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / chemistry
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Bacterial Secretion Systems*
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria / chemistry*
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria / metabolism*
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / chemistry
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / metabolism
  • Models, Biological
  • Models, Chemical
  • Multiprotein Complexes / chemistry
  • Multiprotein Complexes / metabolism


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Bacterial Secretion Systems
  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Multiprotein Complexes