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Abstract

Several Gram-negative pathogenic bacteria have evolved a complex protein secretion system termed the Type Three Secretion System (TTSS) to deliver bacterial effector proteins into host-cells that then modulate host-cellular functions. These bacterial devices are evolutionarily related to the flagellar apparatus. Although the TTSSs are substantially conserved among different species, the effector molecules they deliver are species-unique. There exist three human pathogenic Yersiniae. Yersinia enterocolitica and Yersinia pseudotuberculosis cause self-limiting gastro-enteric diseases and infect mesenteric lymph nodes, while Yersinia pestis is transmitted by fleas and can be aerosolized, causing the lethal disease known as plague (also known as Black Death). The TTSS is composed of over 20 proteins making up the injectisome (inserted directly into the host-cell), in addition to translocator, regulator, and modulator proteins, as well as chaperones for several effector proteins. Today, plague is still a health concern due to the ability of Y. pestis to be aerosolized. No effective vaccines are currently available to the public. However, research is being implemented to create a vaccine that can be widely used. The purpose of this paper is to update the state of the Yersiniae TTSSs by providing a review of recently published primary articles.

Faculty Mentor

Jason Rosenzweig, Ph.D.

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