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A unified model for BAM function that takes into account type Vc secretion and species differences in BAM composition

Department of Biosciences, University of Oslo, Blindernveien 31, 0316 Oslo, Norway

Topical Section: Bacterial secretion systems

Transmembrane proteins in the outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria are almost exclusively β-barrels. They are inserted into the outer membrane by a conserved and essential protein complex called the BAM (for β-barrel assembly machinery). In this commentary, we summarize current research into the mechanism of this protein complex and how it relates to type V secretion. Type V secretion systems are autotransporters that all contain a β-barrel transmembrane domain inserted by BAM. In type Vc systems, this domain is a homotrimer. We argue that none of the current models are sufficient to explain BAM function particularly regarding type Vc secretion. We also find that current models based on the well-studied model system Escherichia coli mostly ignore the pronounced differences in BAM composition between different bacterial species. We propose a more holistic view on how all OMPs, including autotransporters, are incorporated into the lipid bilayer.
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© 2018 the Author(s), licensee AIMS Press. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licese (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)

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