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Extracellular polysaccharides are important determinants for bacterial biofilm formation that are secreted by ill-characterized synthase-dependent systems. Scientists from the Institut Pasteur and CNRS reveal that Escherichia coli secretes cellulose by a conserved multicomponent membrane-embedded complex with a megadalton-sized asymmetric architecture. This study lays the foundation for more comprehensive models of synthase-dependent exopolysaccharide secretion in biofilms and adds a sophisticated secretory nanomachine to the diverse bacterial arsenal for virulence and adaptation.

Krasteva* , PV, Bernal-Bayard* J.; Travier, L. ; Martin FA, Kaminski, PA ; Karimova, G. ; Fronzes, R. and JM Ghigo* .(2017) Insights into the structure and assembly of a cellulose secretion system Nature Communications. In press. * Equal contribution co-corresponding authors