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EssC is a specificity determinant for Staphylococcus aureus type VII secretion

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Tracy Palmer FRS FRSE FMedSciORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2018 The Authors. The type VII protein secretion system (T7SS) is found in actinobacteria and firmicutes, and plays important roles in virulence and interbacterial competition. A membrane-bound ATPase protein, EssC in Staphylococcus aureus, lies at the heart of the secretion machinery. The EssC protein from S. aureus strains can be grouped into four variants (EssC1–EssC4) that display sequence variability in the C-terminal region. Here we show that the EssC2, EssC3 and EssC4 variants can be produced in a strain deleted for essC1, and that they are able to mediate secretion of EsxA, an essential component of the secretion apparatus. They are, however, unable to support secretion of the substrate protein EsxC, which is only encoded in essC1- specific strains. This finding indicates that EssC is a specificity determinant for T7 protein secretion. Our results support a model in which the C-terminal domain of EssC interacts with substrate proteins, whereas EsxA interacts elsewhere.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Jager F, Kneuper H, Palmer T

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Microbiology

Year: 2018

Volume: 164

Issue: 5

Pages: 816-820

Print publication date: 01/05/2018

Online publication date: 05/04/2018

Acceptance date: 13/03/2018

Date deposited: 14/02/2019

ISSN (print): 1350-0872

ISSN (electronic): 1465-2080

Publisher: Microbiology Society


DOI: 10.1099/mic.0.000650


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