The ESAT-6/WXG100 superfamily - and a new Gram-positive secretion system?

Mark Pallen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

258 Citations (Scopus)


ESAT-6 is a small secreted protein of unknown function from Mycobacterium tuberculosis that is of fundamental importance in virulence and protective immunity. A PSI-BLAST search has identified distant homologues of ESAT-6 in more tractable bacteria, including Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus anthracis, Staphylococcus aureus and Clostridium acetobutylicum. The genes for ESAT-6-like proteins often cluster with genes encoding homologues of B. subtilis YukA. I speculate that the ESAT-6-like and YukA-like proteins form a novel Gram-positive secretion system potentially driven by the FtsK/SpoIIIE ATPase domains in the YukA-like proteins. The way is now open to investigate this hypothesis in organisms that are easier to manipulate than pathogenic mycobacteria.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-12
Number of pages4
JournalTrends in Microbiology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2002


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