Type III secretion: what's in a name?

Mickael Desvaux, M Hebraud, Ian Henderson, Mark Pallen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

45 Citations (Scopus)


The term 'type III secretion' has seen widespread use. However, problems persist in nomenclature. We propose that the standard abbreviation for this kind of secretion should be 'T3S' and that 'type III secretion system' should be abbreviated to 'T3SS'. There is also a need for a new terminology to distinguish flagellar and non-flagellar type III secretion systems that reflects their common evolutionary ancestry but does not obscure their distinctive features. Finally, the use of the term 'type III secretion' to cover cytolysin-mediated translocation is to be deprecated because an authentic type III secretion system has already been described in Gram-positive bacteria, namely the flagellar protein export apparatus.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-160
Number of pages4
JournalTrends in Microbiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2006


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