The biosynthesis and export of bacterial cell-surface polysaccharides is known to occur through several distinct mechanisms. Recent advances in the biochemistry and structural biology of several proteins in synthase-dependent polysaccharide secretion systems have identified key conserved components of this pathway in Gram-negative bacteria. These components include an inner-membrane-embedded polysaccharide synthase, a periplasmic tetratricopeptide repeat (TPR)-containing scaffold protein, and an outer-membrane β-barrel porin. There is also increasing evidence that many synthase-dependent systems are post-translationally regulated by the bacterial second messenger bis-(3'-5')-cyclic dimeric guanosine monophosphate (c-di-GMP). Here, we compare these core proteins in the context of the alginate, cellulose, and poly-β-D-N-acetylglucosamine (PNAG) secretion systems.
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