Structure, Assembly, and Function of Tripartite Efflux and Type 1 Secretion Systems in Gram-Negative Bacteria

Ilyas Alav, Jessica Kobylka, Miriam S Kuth, Klaas M Pos, Martin Picard, Jessica M A Blair, Vassiliy N Bavro

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Tripartite efflux pumps and the related type 1 secretion systems (T1SSs) in Gram-negative organisms are diverse in function, energization, and structural organization. They form continuous conduits spanning both the inner and the outer membrane and are composed of three principal components-the energized inner membrane transporters (belonging to ABC, RND, and MFS families), the outer membrane factor channel-like proteins, and linking the two, the periplasmic adaptor proteins (PAPs), also known as the membrane fusion proteins (MFPs). In this review we summarize the recent advances in understanding of structural biology, function, and regulation of these systems, highlighting the previously undescribed role of PAPs in providing a common architectural scaffold across diverse families of transporters. Despite being built from a limited number of basic structural domains, these complexes present a staggering variety of architectures. While key insights have been derived from the RND transporter systems, a closer inspection of the operation and structural organization of different tripartite systems reveals unexpected analogies between them, including those formed around MFS- and ATP-driven transporters, suggesting that they operate around basic common principles. Based on that we are proposing a new integrated model of PAP-mediated communication within the conformational cycling of tripartite systems, which could be expanded to other types of assemblies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5479-5596
Number of pages118
JournalChemical Reviews
Issue number9
Early online date28 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - 12 May 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)


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