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Infect Immun. 2004 Nov;72(11):6659-65.

Functional characterization of two type III secretion systems of Vibrio parahaemolyticus.

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  • 1Department of Bacterial Infections, Research Institute for Microbial Diseases, Osaka University, 3-1 Yamadaoka, Suita, 565-0871, Japan.


Vibrio parahaemolyticus, a gram-negative marine bacterium, is a worldwide cause of food-borne gastroenteritis. Recent genome sequencing of the clinical V. parahaemolyticus strain RIMD2210633 identified two sets of genes for the type III secretion system (TTSS), TTSS1 and TTSS2. Here, we constructed a series of mutant strains from RIMD2210633 to determine whether the two putative TTSS apparatus are functional. The cytotoxic activity of mutant strains having a deletion in one of the TTSS1 genes was significantly decreased compared with that of the parent and TTSS2-related mutant strains. In an enterotoxicity assay with the rabbit ileal loop test, intestinal fluid accumulation was diminished by deletion of the TTSS2-related genes while TTSS1-related mutants caused a level of fluid accumulation similar to that of the parent. VopD, a protein encoded in the proximity of the TTSS1 region and a homologue of the Yersinia YopD, was secreted in a TTSS1-dependent manner. In contrast, VopP, which is encoded by a pathogenicity island on chromosome 2 and is homologous to the Yersinia YopP, was secreted via the TTSS2 pathway. These results provide evidence that V. parahaemolyticus TTSSs function as secretion systems and may have a role in the pathogenicity of the organism. This is the first report of functional TTSSs in Vibrio species. The presence of TTSS apparatus gene homologues was demonstrated in other vibrios, such as Vibrio alginolyticus, Vibrio harveyi, and Vibrio tubiashii, suggesting that some other vibrios also contain TTSS and that the TTSS has a role in protein secretion in those organisms during interaction with eukaryotic cells.

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