Critical Reviews in Microbiology vol:41 issue:1 pages:109-123
Cell surface display of proteins can be used for several biotechnological applications such as the screening of protein libraries, whole cell biocatalysis and live vaccine development. Amongst all secretion systems and surface appendages of Gram-negative bacteria, the autotransporter secretion pathway holds great potential for surface display because of its modular structure and apparent simplicity. Autotransporters are polypeptides made up of an N-terminal signal peptide, a secreted or surface displayed passenger domain and a membrane anchored C-terminal translocation unit. Genetic replacement of the passenger domain allows for the surface display of heterologous passengers. An autotransporter based surface expression module essentially consists of an application-dependent promoter system, a signal peptide, a passenger domain of interest and the autotransporter translocation unit. The passenger domain needs to be compatible with surface translocation although till now no general rules have been determined to test this compatibility. The autotransporter technology for surface display of heterologous passenger domains is critically discussed for various applications.