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Infect Immun. 2005 Feb;73(2):679-86.

EspJ is a prophage-carried type III effector protein of attaching and effacing pathogens that modulates infection dynamics.

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  • 1Centre for Molecular Microbiology and Infection, Department of Biological Sciences, Flowers Building, Imperial College London, London SW7 2AZ, United Kingdom.


Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli, enteropathogenic E. coli, and Citrobacter rodentium are highly adapted enteropathogens that successfully colonize their host's gastrointestinal tract via the formation of attaching and effacing (A/E) lesions. These pathogens utilize a type III secretion system (TTSS) apparatus, encoded by the locus of enterocyte effacement, to translocate bacterial effector proteins into epithelial cells. Here, we report the identification of EspJ (E. coli-secreted protein J), a translocated TTSS effector that is carried on the 5' end of the cryptic prophage CP-933U. Infection of epithelial cells in culture revealed that EspJ is not required for A/E lesion activity in vivo and ex vivo. However, in vivo studies performed with mice demonstrated that EspJ possesses properties that influence the dynamics of clearance of the pathogen from the host's intestinal tract, suggesting a role in host survival and pathogen transmission.

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