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Cryo-EM reconstruction of Type VI secretion system baseplate and sheath distal end

11:49 EST 15 Feb 2018 | Nature Publishing

The bacterial Type VI secretion system (T6SS) assembles from three major parts: a membrane complex that spans inner and outer membranes, a baseplate, and a sheath–tube polymer. The baseplate assembles around a tip complex with associated effectors and connects to the membrane complex by TssK. The baseplate assembly initiates sheath–tube polymerization, which in some organisms requires TssA. Here, we analyzed both ends of isolated non-contractile Vibrio cholerae sheaths by cryo-electron microscopy. Our analysis suggests that the baseplate, solved to an average 8.0 Å resolution, is composed of six subunits of TssE/F2/G and the baseplate periphery is decorated by six TssK trimers. The VgrG/PAAR tip complex in the center of the baseplate is surrounded by a cavity, which may accommodate up to ~450 kDa of effector proteins. The distal end of the sheath, resolved to an average 7.5 Å resolution, shows sixfold symmetry; however, its protein composition is unclear. Our structures provide an important step toward an atomic model of the complete T6SS assembly.

Original Article: Cryo-EM reconstruction of Type VI secretion system baseplate and sheath distal end

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