Yersinia pestis produces a set of virulence proteins (Yops and LcrV) that are expressed at high levels and secreted by a type III secretion system (Ysc) upon bacterium-host cell contact, and four of the Yops are vectorially translocated into eukaryotic cells. YopD, YopB, and YopK are required for the translocation process. In vitro, induction and secretion occur at 37°C in the absence of calcium. LcrH (also called SycD), a protein required for the stability and secretion of YopD, had initially been identified as a negative regulator of Yop expression. In this study, we constructed a yopD mutation in both wild-type and secretion-defective (ysc) Y. pestis to determine if the lcrH phenotype could be attributed to the decreased stability of YopD. These mutants were constitutively induced for expression of Yops and LcrV, despite the presence of the secreted negative regulator LcrQ, demonstrating that YopD is involved in negative regulation, regardless of a functioning Ysc system. Normally, secretion of Yops and LcrV is blocked in the presence of calcium. The single yopD mutant was not completely effective in blocking secretion: LcrV was secreted equally well in the presence and absence of calcium, while there was partial secretion of Yops in the presence of calcium. YopD is probably not rate limiting for negative regulation, as increasing levels of YopD did not result in decreased Yop expression. Overexpression of LcrQ in the yopD mutant had no significant effect on Yop expression, whereas increased levels of LcrQ in the parent resulted in decreased levels of Yops. These results indicate that LcrQ requires YopD to function as a negative regulator.
Most effector proteins of bacterial type III secretion (T3S) systems require chaperone proteins for translocation into host cells. Such effectors are bound by chaperones in a conserved and characteristic manner, with the chaperone-binding (Cb) region of the effector wound around the chaperone in a highly extended conformation. This conformation has been suggested to serve as a translocation signal in promoting the association between the chaperone-effector complex and a bacterial component required for translocation. We sought to test a prediction of this model by identifying a potential association site for the Yersinia pseudotuberculosis chaperone-effector pair SycE-YopE. We identified a set of residues in the YopE Cb region that are required for translocation but are dispensable for expression, SycE binding, secretion into the extrabacterial milieu, and stability in mammalian cells. These residues form a solvent-exposed patch on the surface of the chaperone-bound Cb region, and thus their effect on translocation is consistent with the structure of the chaperone-bound Cb region serving as a signal for translocation.
The obligate intracellular pathogen Chlamydia trachomatis expresses a type III secretion system (T3SS) which has the potential to contribute significantly to pathogenesis. Based on a demonstrated role of type III secretion (T3S)-specific chaperones in the secretion of antihost proteins by gram-negative pathogens, we initiated a study of selected putative Chlamydia T3S chaperones in an effort to gain mechanistic insight into the Chlamydia T3SS and to potentially identify Chlamydia-specific secreted products. C. trachomatis Scc2 and Scc3 are homologous to SycD of Yersinia spp. Functional studies of the heterologous Yersinia T3SS indicated that although neither Scc2 nor Scc3 was able to fully complement a sycD null mutant, both have SycD-like characteristics. Both were able to associate with the translocator protein YopD, and Scc3 expression restored limited secretion of YopD in in vitro studies of T3S. CopB (CT578) and CopB2 (CT861) are encoded adjacent to scc2 and scc3, respectively, and have structural similarities with the YopB family of T3S translocators. Either Scc2 or Scc3 coprecipitates with CopB from C. trachomatis extracts. Expression of CopB or CopB2 in Yersinia resulted in their type III-dependent secretion, and localization studies with C. trachomatis-infected cells indicated that both were secreted by Chlamydia.
Pathogenic yersiniae (Y. pestis, Y. pseudotuberculosis, Y. enterocolitica) share a virulence plasmid encoding a type three secretion system (T3SS). This T3SS comprises more than 40 constituents. Among these are the transport substrates called Yops (Yersinia outer proteins), the specific Yop chaperones (Sycs), and the Ysc (Yop secretion) proteins which form the transport machinery. The effectors YopO and YopP are encoded on an operon together with SycO, the chaperone of YopO. The characterization of SycO is the focus of this study.
We have established the large-scale production of recombinant SycO in its outright form. We confirm that Y. enterocolitica SycO forms homodimers which is typical for Syc chaperones. SycO overproduction in Y. enterocolitica decreases secretion of Yops into the culture supernatant suggesting a regulatory role of SycO in type III secretion. We demonstrate that in vitro SycO interacts with YscM1, a negative regulator of Yop expression in Y. enterocolitica. However, the SycO overproduction phenotype was not mediated by YscM1, YscM2, YopO or YopP as revealed by analysis of isogenic deletion mutants.
We present evidence that SycO is integrated into the regulatory network of the Yersinia T3SS. Our picture of the Yersinia T3SS interactome is supplemented by identification of the SycO/YscM1 interaction. Further, our results suggest that at least one additional interaction partner of SycO has to be identified.
Pathogenic yersiniae, including Y. pestis, share a type III secretion system (T3SS) that is composed of a secretion machinery, a set of translocation proteins, a control system, and six Yop effector proteins including YpkA and YopJ. The cyclic AMP receptor protein (CRP), a global regulator, was recently found to regulate the laterally acquired genes (pla and pst) in Y. pestis. The regulation of T3SS components by CRP is unknown.
The sycO, ypkA and yopJ genes constitute a single operon in Y. pestis. CRP specifically binds to the promoter-proximate region of sycO, and represses the expression of the sycO-ypkA-yopJ operon. A single CRP-dependent promoter is employed for the sycO-ypkA-yopJ operon, but two CRP binding sites (site 1 and site 2) are detected within the promoter region. A CRP box homologue is found in site 1 other than site 2. The determination of CRP-binding sites, transcription start site and core promoter element (-10 and -35 regions) promotes us to depict the structural organization of CRP-dependent promoter, giving a map of CRP-promoter DNA interaction for sycO-ypkA-yopJ.
The sycO-ypkA-yopJ operon is under the direct and negative regulation of CRP in Y. pestis. The sycO-ypkA-yopJ promoter-proximate regions are extremely conserved in Y. pestis, Y. pseudotuberculosis and Y. enterocolitica. Therefore, data presented here can be generally applied to the above three pathogenic yersiniae.
Numerous Gram-negative bacterial pathogens employ type III secretion systems (T3SSs) to inject effector proteins into eukaryotic cells. The activation of the type III secretion (T3S) process is tightly controlled in all T3SSs. In Yersinia pestis, the secretion of effector proteins, termed Yersinia outer proteins (Yops), is regulated by the activity of the YopN/SycN/YscB/TyeA complex. YopN is a secreted protein that interacts with the SycN/YscB chaperone via an N-terminal chaperone-binding domain (CBD) and with TyeA via a C-terminal TyeA-binding domain (TBD). Efficient YopN secretion is dependent upon its N-terminal secretion signal (SS), CBD, and the SycN/YscB chaperone. In this study, we investigate the role of the YopN CBD in the regulation of Yop secretion. Analysis of YopE/YopN hybrid proteins in which the YopN SS or SS and CBD were replaced with the analogous regions of YopE indicated that the YopN CBD or SycN/YscB chaperone play a role in the regulation of Yop secretion that is independent of their established roles in YopN secretion. To further analyze the role of the YopN CBD in the regulation of Yop secretion a series of tetra-alanine substitution mutants were generated throughout the YopN CBD. A number of these mutants exhibited a defect in the regulation of Yop secretion but showed no defect in YopN secretion or in the interaction of YopN with the SycN/YscB chaperone. Finally, conditions were established that enabled YopN and TyeA to regulate Yop secretion in the absence of the SycN/YscB chaperone. Importantly, a number of the YopN CBD mutants maintained their defect in the regulation of Yop secretion even under the established SycN/YscB chaperone-independent conditions. These studies establish a role for the CBD region of YopN in the regulation of Yop secretion that is independent from its role in YopN secretion or in the binding of the SycN/YscB chaperone.
type III secretion; chaperone; bacterial pathogenesis; Yersinia pestis; plague
Pathogenic Yersinia spp. secrete Yops (Yersinia outer proteins) via the type III pathway. The expression of yop genes is regulated in response to environmental cues, which results in a cascade of type III secretion reactions. yscM1 and yscM2 negatively regulate the expression of Yersinia enterocolitica yop genes. It is demonstrated that yopD and lcrH are required for yscM1 and yscM2 function and that all four genes act synergistically at the same regulatory step. Further, SycH binding to the protein products of yscM1 and yscM2 can activate yop gene expression even without promoting type III transport of YscM1 and YscM2. Reverse transcription-PCR analysis of yopQ mRNA as well as yopQ and yopE gene fusion experiments with the npt (neomycin phosphotransferase) reporter suggest that yscM1 and yscM2 regulate expression at a posttranscriptional step. The 178-nucleotide 5′ untranslated region (UTR) of yopQ mRNA was sufficient to confer yscM1 and yscM2-mediated regulation on the fused reporter, as was the 28-nucleotide UTR of yopE. The sequence 5′-AUAAA-3′ is located in the 5′ yop UTRs, and mutations that alter the sequence motif either reduced or abolished yscM1- and yscM2-mediated regulation. A model is proposed whereby YopD, LcrH, YscM1, YscM2, and SycH regulate yop expression in response to specific environmental cues and by a mechanism that may involve binding of some of these factors to a specific target sequence within the UTR of yop mRNAs.
To establish an infection, Yersinia pseudotuberculosis utilizes a plasmid-encoded type III translocon to microinject several anti-host Yop effectors into the cytosol of target eukaryotic cells. YopD has been implicated in several key steps during Yop effector translocation, including maintenance of yop regulatory control and pore formation in the target cell membrane through which effectors traverse. These functions are mediated, in part, by an interaction with the cognate chaperone, LcrH. To gain insight into the complex molecular mechanisms of YopD function, we performed a systematic mutagenesis study to search for discrete functional domains. We highlighted amino acids beyond the first three N-terminal residues that are dispensable for YopD secretion and confirmed that an interaction between YopD and LcrH is essential for maintenance of yop regulatory control. In addition, discrete domains within YopD that are essential for both pore formation and translocation of Yop effectors were identified. Significantly, other domains were found to be important for effector microinjection but not for pore formation. Therefore, YopD is clearly essential for several discrete steps during efficient Yop effector translocation. Recognition of this modular YopD domain structure provides important insights into the function of YopD.
A type III secretion-translocation system allows Yersinia adhering at the surface of animal cells to deliver a cocktail of effector Yops (YopH, -O, -P, -E, -M, and -T) into the cytosol of these cells. Residues or codons 1 to 77 contain all the information required for the complete delivery of YopE into the target cell (release from the bacterium and translocation across the eukaryotic cell membrane). Residues or codons 1 to 15 are sufficient for release from the wild-type bacterium under Ca2+-chelating conditions but not for delivery into target cells. Residues 15 to 50 comprise the binding domain for SycE, a chaperone specific for YopE that is necessary for release and translocation of full-length YopE. To understand the role of this chaperone, we studied the delivery of YopE-Cya reporter proteins and YopE deletants by polymutant Yersinia devoid of most of the Yop effectors (ΔHOPEM and ΔTHE strains). We first tested YopE-Cya hybrid proteins and YopE proteins deleted of the SycE-binding site. In contrast to wild-type strains, these mutants delivered YopE15-Cya as efficiently as YopE130-Cya. They were also able to deliver YopEΔ17–77. SycE was dispensable for these deliveries. These results show that residues or codons 1 to 15 are sufficient for delivery into eukaryotic cells and that there is no specific translocation signal in Yops. However, the fact that the SycE-binding site and SycE were necessary for delivery of YopE by wild-type Yersinia suggests that they could introduce hierarchy among the effectors to be delivered. We then tested a YopE-Cya hybrid and YopE proteins deleted of amino acids 2 to 15 but containing the SycE-binding domain. These constructs were neither released in vitro upon Ca2+ chelation nor delivered into cells by wild-type or polymutant bacteria, casting doubts on the hypothesis that SycE could be a secretion pilot. Finally, it appeared that residues 50 to 77 are inhibitory to YopE release and that binding of SycE overcomes this inhibitory effect. Removal of this domain allowed in vitro release and delivery in cells in the absence as well as in the presence of SycE.
During infection, Yersinia enterocolitica exports Yop proteins via a type III secretion pathway. Secretion is activated when the environmental concentration of calcium ions is below 100 μM (low-calcium response). Yersiniae lacking yopN (lcrE), yscB, sycN, or tyeA do not inactivate the type III pathway even when the concentration of calcium is above 100 μM (calcium-blind phenotype). Purified YscB and SycN proteins form cytoplasmic complexes that bind a region including amino acids 16 to 100 of YopN, whereas TyeA binds YopN residues 101 to 294. Translational fusion of yopN gene sequences to the 5′ end of the npt reporter generates hybrid proteins that are transported by the type III pathway. The signal necessary and sufficient for the type III secretion of hybrid proteins is located within the first 15 codons of yopN. Expression of plasmid-borne yopN, but not of yopN1–294-npt, complements the calcium-blind phenotype of yopN mutants. Surprisingly, yopN mutants respond to environmental changes in calcium concentration and secrete YopN1–294-Npt in the absence but not in the presence of calcium. tyeA is required for the low-calcium regulation of YopN1–294-Npt secretion, whereas sycN and yscB mutants fail to secrete YopN1–294-Npt in the presence of calcium. Experiments with yopN-npt fusions identified two other signals that regulate the secretion of YopN. yopN codons 16 to 100 prevent the entry of YopN into the type III pathway, a negative regulatory effect that is overcome by expression of yscB and sycN. The portion of YopN encoded by codons 101 to 294 prevents transport of the polypeptide across the bacterial double membrane envelope in the presence of functional tyeA. These data support a model whereby YopN transport may serve as a regulatory mechanism for the activity of the type III pathway. YscB/SycN binding facilitates the initiation of YopN into the type III pathway, whereas TyeA binding prevents transport of the polypeptide across the bacterial envelope. Changes in the environmental calcium concentration relieve the TyeA-mediated regulation, triggering YopN transport and activating the type III pathway.
The Ysa type III secretion (T3S) system enhances gastrointestinal infection by Yersinia enterocolitica bv. 1B. One effector protein targeted into host cells is YspP, a protein tyrosine phosphatase. It was determined in this study that the secretion of YspP requires a chaperone, SycP. Genetic analysis showed that deletion of sycP completely abolished the secretion of YspP without affecting the secretion of other Ysps by the Ysa T3S system. Analysis of the secretion and translocation signals of YspP defined the first 73 amino acids to form the minimal region of YspP necessary to promote secretion and translocation by the Ysa T3S system. Function of the YspP secretion/translocation signals was dependent on SycP. Curiously, when YspP was constitutively expressed in Y. enterocolitica bv. 1B, it was recognized and secreted by the Ysc T3S system and the flagellar T3S system. In these cases, the first 21 amino acids were sufficient to promote secretion, and while SycP did enhance secretion, it was not essential. However, neither the Ysc T3S system nor the flagellar T3S system translocated YspP into mammalian cells. This supports a model where SycP confers secretion/translocation specificities for YspP by the Ysa T3S system. A series of biochemical approaches further established that SycP specifically interacts with YspP and protected YspP degradation in the cell prior to secretion. Collectively, the evidence suggests that YspP secretion by the Ysa T3S system is a posttranslational event.
The type III secretion systems are contact-activated secretion systems that allow bacteria to inject effector proteins across eukaryotic cell membranes. The secretion apparatus, called injectisome or needle complex, includes a needle that terminates with a tip structure. The injectisome exports its own distal components, like the needle subunit and the needle tip. Upon contact, it exports two hydrophobic proteins called translocators (YopB and YopD in Yersinia enterocolitica) and the effectors. The translocators, assisted by the needle tip, form a pore in the target cell membrane, but the structure of this pore remains elusive. Here, we purified the membranes from infected sheep erythrocytes, and we show that they contain integrated and not simply adherent YopB and YopD. In blue native PAGE, these proteins appeared as a multimeric 500- to 700-kDa complex. This heteropolymeric YopBD complex could be copurified after solubilization in 0.5% dodecyl maltoside but not visualized in the electron microscope. We speculate that this complex may not be stable and rigid but only transient.
Yersinia enterocolitica biovar 1B contains two type III secretion systems (TTSSs), the plasmid-encoded Ysc-Yop system and the chromosomally encoded Ysa-Ysp system. Proteins secreted from the Ysa TTSS (Ysps) have only been detected in vitro when cells are cultured at 26°C in a high-NaCl medium. However, the exact role of the Ysa TTSS is unclear. Thus, investigations into the regulation of this system may help elucidate the role of the Ysps during the life cycle of Y. enterocolitica. Here we present evidence that the AraC-like regulator YsaE acts together with the chaperone SycB to regulate transcription of the sycByspBCDA operon, a phenomenon similar to that seen in the closely related Salmonella SPI-1 and Shigella flexneri Mxi-Spa-Ipa TTSSs. Deletion of either sycB or ysaE results in a twofold reduction in the activity of a sycB-lacZ fusion compared to the wild type. In a reconstituted Escherichia coli system, transcription of sycB was activated sixfold only when both YsaE and SycB were present, demonstrating that they are necessary for activation. ysrR and ysrS are located near the ysa genes and encode a putative two-component regulatory system. Mutations in either gene indicated that both YsrR and YsrS were required for secretion of Ysps. In addition, transcription from sycB-lacZ and ysaE-lacZ fusions was decreased 6.5- and 25-fold, respectively, in the ysrS mutant compared to the wild type. Furthermore, in the absence of NaCl, the activity of ysaE-lacZ was reduced 25-fold in the wild-type and ΔysrS strains, indicating that YsrS is probably required for the salt-dependent expression of the ysa locus. These results suggest that the putative two-component system YsrRS may be a key element in the regulatory cascade for the Ysa TTSS.
Pathogenic Yersinia species (Y. enterocolitica, Y. pestis, Y. pseudotuberculosis) share a type three secretion system (TTSS) which allows translocation of effector proteins (called Yops) into host cells. It is believed that proteins are delivered through a hollow needle with an inner diameter of 2–3 nm. Thus transport seems to require substrates which are essentially unfolded. Recent work from different groups suggests that the Yersinia TTSS cannot accommodate substrates which are folded prior to secretion. It was suggested that folding is prevented either by co-translational secretion or by the assistance of specific Yop chaperones (called Sycs).
In this study we have fused YopE secretion signals of various length to the mouse dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) in order to analyse the DHFR folding state prior to secretion. We could demonstrate that secretion-deficient as well as secretion-competent YopE-DHFR fusions complexed to SycE can be efficiently purified from Yersinia cytosol by affinity chromatography using methotrexate-agarose. This implies the folding of the DHFR fusion moiety despite SycE binding and contradicts the previously presented model of folding inhibition by chaperone binding. Secretion-deficient YopE-DHFR fusions caused severe jamming of the TTSS. This observation contradicts the co-translational secretion model.
We present evidence that the Yersinia TTSS is familiar with the processing of transport substrates which are folded prior to secretion. We therefore predict that an unfoldase is involved in type III secretion.
Pathogenic yersiniae secrete 14 Yop proteins via the type III pathway. Synthesis of YopQ occurs when the type III machinery is activated by a low-calcium signal, but not when the calcium concentration is above 100 μM. To characterize the mechanism that regulates the expression of yopQ, mutants that permit synthesis of YopQ in the presence of calcium were isolated. Yersiniae bearing deletion mutations in yopN, tyeA, sycN, or yscB synthesized and secreted YopQ in both the presence and the absence of calcium. In contrast, yersiniae with a deletion in yopD or lcrH synthesized YopQ in the presence of calcium but did not secrete the polypeptide. These variants displayed no defect in YopQ secretion under low-calcium conditions, revealing that yopD and lcrH are required for the regulation of yopQ expression. Experiments with transcriptional and translational fusions to the npt reporter gene suggest that yopD and lcrH regulate yopQ expression at a posttranscriptional step. YopD and LcrH form a complex in the bacterial cytosol and bind yopQ mRNA. Models that can account for posttranscriptional regulatory mechanisms of yop expression are discussed.
Pathogenic Yersinia species secrete virulence proteins, termed Yersinia outer proteins (Yops), upon contact with a eukaryotic cell. The secretion machinery is composed of 21 Yersinia secretion (Ysc) proteins. Yersinia pestis mutants defective in expression of YscG or YscE were unable to export the Yops. YscG showed structural and limited amino-acid-sequence similarities to members of the specific Yop chaperone (Syc) family of proteins. YscG specifically recognized and bound YscE; however, unlike previously characterized Syc substrates, YscE was not exported from the cell. These data suggest that YscG functions as a chaperone for YscE.
Type III secretion systems (T3SSs) are complex units that consist of many proteins. Often the proteins are encoded as a cohesive unit on virulence plasmids, but several systems have their various components dispersed around the chromosome. The Yersinia enterocolitica Ysa T3SS is such a system, where the apparatus genes, some regulatory genes, and four genes encoding secreted proteins (ysp genes) are contained in a single locus. The remaining ysp genes and at least one additional regulator are found elsewhere on the chromosome. Expression of ysa genes requires conditions of high ionic strength, neutral/basic pH, and low temperatures (26°C) and is stimulated by exposure to solid surfaces. The AraC-like regulator YsaE and the dual-function chaperone/regulator SycB are required to stimulate the sycB promoter, which transcribes sycB and probably yspBCDA as well. The putative phosphorelay proteins YsrRS (located at the distal end of the ysa locus) and RcsB, the response regulator of the RcsBCD phosphorelay system, are required to initiate transcription at the ysaE promoter, which drives transcription of many apparatus genes. In this work, we sought to determine which ysp genes were coordinately regulated with the genes within the ysa locus. We found that six unlinked ysp genes responded to NaCl and required YsaE/SycB, YsrRS, and RcsB for expression. Three ysp genes had unique patterns, one of which was unaffected by all elements tested except NaCl. Thus, while the ysp genes were likely to have been acquired independently, most have acquired a synchronous regulatory pattern.
Type III secretion systems (T3SSs) secrete needle components, pore-forming translocators, and the translocated effectors. In part, effector recognition by a T3SS involves their N-terminal amino acids and their 5′ mRNA. To investigate whether similar molecular constraints influence translocator secretion, we scrutinized this region within YopD from Yersinia pseudotuberculosis. Mutations in the 5′ end of yopD that resulted in specific disruption of the mRNA sequence did not affect YopD secretion. On the other hand, a few mutations affecting the protein sequence reduced secretion. Translational reporter fusions identified the first five codons as a minimal N-terminal secretion signal and also indicated that the YopD N terminus might be important for yopD translation control. Hybrid proteins in which the N terminus of YopD was exchanged with the equivalent region of the YopE effector or the YopB translocator were also constructed. While the in vitro secretion profile was unaltered, these modified bacteria were all compromised with respect to T3SS activity in the presence of immune cells. Thus, the YopD N terminus does harbor a secretion signal that may also incorporate mechanisms of yopD translation control. This signal tolerates a high degree of variation while still maintaining secretion competence suggestive of inherent structural peculiarities that make it distinct from secretion signals of other T3SS substrates.
All pathogenic Yersinia enterocolitica strains carry the pYV plasmid encoding the Ysc-Yop type III secretion (TTS) system, which operates at 37°C. In addition, biovar 1B Y. enterocolitica strains possess a second, chromosomally encoded, TTS system called Ysa, which operates, at least in vitro, under low-temperature and high-salt (LTHS) conditions. Six open reading frames, sycB, yspB, yspC, yspD, yspA, and acpY, neighbor the ysa genes encoding the Ysa TTS apparatus. Here we show that YspA, YspB, YspC, and YspD are secreted by the Ysa TTS system under LTHS conditions. SycB is a chaperone for YspB and YspC and stabilizes YspB. YspB, YspC, and SycB share some similarity with TTS substrates and the chaperone encoded by the Mxi-Spa locus of Shigella flexneri and SPI-1 of Salmonella enterica. In addition, Ysa also secretes the pYV-encoded YopE under LTHS conditions, indicating that YopE is a potential effector of both Y. enterocolitica TTS systems. YspC could also be secreted by S. flexneri, but no functional complementation of ipaC was observed, which indicates that despite their similarity the Ysa and the Mxi-Spa systems are not interchangeable. When expressed from the yopE promoter, YspB and YspC could also be secreted via the Ysc injectisome. However, they could not form detectable pores in eukaryotic target cells and could not substitute for YopB and YopD for translocation of Yop effectors.
Yersinia pseudotuberculosis binds to β1 integrin receptors, and uses the type III secretion proteins YopB and YopD to introduce pores and to translocate Yop effectors directly into host cells. Y. pseudotuberculosis lacking effectors that inhibit Rho GTPases, YopE and YopT, have high pore forming activity. Here, we present evidence that Y. pseudotuberculosis selectively modulates Rho activity to induce cellular changes that control pore formation and effector translocation. Inhibition of actin polymerization decreased pore formation and YopE translocation in HeLa cells infected with Y. pseudotuberculosis. Inactivation of Rho, Rac, and Cdc42 by treatment with Clostridium difficile toxin B inhibited pore formation and YopE translocation in infected HeLa cells. Expression of a dominant negative form of Rac did not reduce the uptake of membrane impermeable dyes in HeLa cells infected with a pore forming strain YopEHJT−. Similarly, the Rac inhibitor NSC23766 did not decrease pore formation or translocation, although it efficiently hindered Rac-dependent bacterial uptake. In contrast, C. botulinum C3 potently reduced pore formation and translocation, implicating Rho A, B, and/or C in the control of the Yop delivery. An invasin mutant (Y. pseudotuberculosis invD911E) that binds to β1 integrins, but inefficiently transduces signals through the receptors, was defective for YopE translocation. Interfering with the β1 integrin signaling pathway, by inhibiting Src kinase activity, negatively affected YopE translocation. Additionally, Y. pseudotuberculosis infection activated Rho by a mechanism that was dependent on YopB and on high affinity bacteria interaction with β1 integrin receptors. We propose that Rho activation, mediated by signals triggered by the YopB/YopD translocon and from engagement of β1 integrin receptors, stimulates actin polymerization and activates the translocation process, and that once the Yops are translocated, the action of YopE or YopT terminate delivery of Yops and prevents pore formation.
The type III secretion system (TTSS) is essential for the virulence of a number of Gram-negative human pathogens of enormous clinical significance. The molecular mechanisms by which TTSS effector proteins are translocated into the host cell are not well understood. The work presented here proposes a new model in which the enteropathogen Yersinia pseudotuberculosis manipulates the host cell machinery to control effector translocation. This involves activation of the host cell Rho GTPase by the cooperative action of adhesin-mediated high affinity binding to specific cell receptor molecules known as β1 integrins, and interaction of components of the TTSS with the host cell membrane. This molecular mechanism of controlling TTSS may not be restricted to Y. pseudotuberculosis and might take place during infection of host cells with other pathogens that encode homologues of Yersinia TTSS proteins. Our findings provide a good starting point to study the molecular nature of the complex interaction between bacterial pathogens bearing TTSSs and the host cell. Importantly, components that act by modulating the TTSS are potential targets for novel antimicrobials.
Yersinia species, as well as many other Gram-negative pathogens, use a type III secretion system (T3SS) to translocate effector proteins from the bacterial cytoplasm to the host cytosol. This T3SS resembles a molecular syringe, with a needle-like shaft connected to a basal body structure, which spans the inner and outer bacterial membranes. The basal body of the injectisome shares a high degree of homology with the bacterial flagellum. Extending from the T3SS basal body is the needle, which is a polymer of a single protein, YscF. The distal end of the needle serves as a platform for the assembly of a tip complex composed of LcrV. Though never directly observed, prevailing models assume that LcrV assists in the insertion of the pore-forming proteins YopB and YopD into the host cell membrane. This completes a bridge between the bacterium and host cell to provide a continuous channel through which effectors are delivered. Significant effort has gone into understanding how the T3SS is assembled, how its substrates are recognized and how substrate delivery is controlled. Arguably the latter topic is the least understood; however, recent advances have provided new insight, and therefore, this review will focus primarily on summarizing the current state of knowledge regarding the control of substrate delivery by the T3SS. Specifically, we will discuss the roles of YopK, as well as YopN and YopE, which have long been linked to regulation of translocation. We also propose models whereby the YopK regulator communicates with the basal body of the T3SS to control translocation.
type III secretion; injectisome; substrate specificity; YopK; YopE; YopN
YopN is a secreted protein that prior to secretion directly interacts with the cytosolic SycN/YscB chaperone complex and TyeA. This study identifies a secreted YopN-TyeA hybrid protein that is expressed by Yersinia pestis, but not by Yersinia enterocolitica. DNA sequence analysis and site-directed mutagenesis studies demonstrate that the hybrid protein is the result of a +1 translational frameshift event.
Yersinia enterocolitica mutant strains, including mutants deficient in the chaperone SycH resulting in a functional deficiency in tyrosine phosphatase (YopH), Mn-cofactored superoxide dismutase (SodA), iron-repressive protein 1 (IRP-1), and Yersinia adhesin A (YadA), were demonstrated to be highly attenuated in wild-type C57BL/6 mice. TNFRp55−/−, IL-12p40−/−, and IL-18−/− mutant mice, in which the Yersinia wild-type strain causes severe systemic infections, were used to investigate whether these Yersinia mutant strains would be attenuated in immunodeficient hosts. A plasmid-cured Yersinia mutant strain was unable to colonize any of the mutant mice tested. A SycH-deficient mutant strain colonized intestinal tissues of these mice but was attenuated for systemic infection in all of the mutant mice. Both YadA- and Irp-1-deficient Yersinia mutants were still attenuated in IL-12−/− and IL-18−/− mice but were pathogenic in TNFRp55−/− mice. By contrast, a Yersinia sodA mutant was highly pathogenic for TNFRp55−/− and IL-12p40−/− mice while interleukin-18 (IL-18) was dispensable. This finding demonstrates that certain virulence factors enable yersiniae to compete with distinct cytokine-dependent host defense mechanisms. Moreover, while gamma interferon mRNA expression did not reflect protective host responses in cytokine-deficient mice, IL-10 expression coincided with a heavy splenic bacterial load and was associated with progressive infection courses. We can thus segregate minor (SodA), intermediate (YadA and IRP-1), and major (YopH) virulence factors of Y. enterocolitica. Finally, we demonstrate that, even in immunocompromised hosts, Yersinia sycH and, with some restrictions, irp-1 mutants may be suitable for use as live carrier vaccines.
Human pathogenic yersiniae organisms export and translocate the Yop virulence proteins and V antigen upon contact with a eukaryotic cell. Yersinia pestis mutants defective for production of YscX or YscY were unable to export the Yops and V antigen. YscX and YscY were both present in the Y. pestis cell pellet fraction; however, YscX was also found in the culture supernatant. YscY showed structural and amino acid sequence similarities to the Syc family of proteins. YscY specifically recognized and bound to a region of YscX that included a predicted coiled-coil region. These data suggest that YscY may function as a chaperone for YscX in Y. pestis.
Bacterial type III secretion system (T3SSs) chaperones pilot substrates to the export apparatus in a secretion-competent state, and are consequently central to the translocation of effectors into target cells. Chlamydia trachomatis is a genetically intractable obligate intracellular pathogen that utilizes T3SS effectors to trigger its entry into mammalian cells. The only well-characterized T3SS effector is TARP (translocated actin recruitment protein), but its chaperone is unknown. Here we exploited a known structural signature to screen for putative type III secretion chaperones encoded within the C. trachomatis genome. Using bacterial two-hybrid, co-precipitation, cross-linking, and size exclusion chromatography we show that Slc1 (SycE-like chaperone 1; CT043) specifically interacts with a 200 amino acid residue N-terminal region of TARP (TARP1–200). Slc1 formed homodimers in vitro, as shown in crosslinking and gel filtration experiments. Biochemical analysis of an isolated Slc1-TARP1–200 complex was consistent with a characteristic 2:1 chaperone-effector stoichiometry. Furthermore, Slc1 was co-immunoprecipitated with TARP from C. trachomatis elementary bodies. Also, co-expression of Slc1 specifically enhanced host cell translocation of TARP by a heterologous Yersinia enterocolitica T3SS. Taken together, we propose Slc1 as a chaperone of the C. trachomatis T3SS effector TARP.