Molecular models for the core components of the flagellar type-III secretion complex

More about Open Access at the Crick


We show that by using a combination of computational methods, consistent three-dimensional molecular models can be proposed for the core proteins of the type-III secretion system. We employed a variety of approaches to reconcile disparate, and sometimes inconsistent, data sources into a coherent picture that for most of the proteins indicated a unique solution to the constraints. The range of difficulty spanned from the trivial (FliQ) to the difficult (FlhA and FliP). The uncertainties encountered with FlhA were largely the result of the greater number of helix packing possibilities allowed in a large protein, however, for FliP, there remains an uncertainty in how to reconcile the large displacement predicted between its two main helical hairpins and their ability to sit together happily across the bacterial membrane. As there is still no high resolution structural information on any of these proteins, we hope our predicted models may be of some use in aiding the interpretation of electron microscope images and in rationalising mutation data and experiments.

Journal details

Journal PLOS ONE
Volume 11
Issue number 11
Pages e0164047
Available online
Publication date

Crick labs/facilities

Crick authors

Crick First author
Crick Corresponding author