Secretion of foreign proteins from microorganisms in general and from Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis in particular is still a favoured option for the subsequent recovery of such proteins on a commercial scale. The variety of natural bacterial systems now being studied and the likely limiting factors in their adaptation for the export of heterologous proteins are reviewed. One major limiting factor is the lack of basic knowledge of the secretion mechanism. The details of one such system now being intensively studied, the secretion of haemolysin from E. coli, are described.
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