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Mol Microbiol. 1999 Jun;32(5):961-76.

The V-antigen of Yersinia is surface exposed before target cell contact and involved in virulence protein translocation.

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Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Umeâ University, S-901 87 Umeâ, Sweden.


Type III-mediated translocation of Yop effectors is an essential virulence mechanism of pathogenic Yersinia. LcrV is the only protein secreted by the type III secretion system that induces protective immunity. LcrV also plays a significant role in the regulation of Yop expression and secretion. The role of LcrV in the virulence process has, however, remained elusive on account of its pleiotropic effects. Here, we show that anti-LcrV antibodies can block the delivery of Yop effectors into the target cell cytosol. This argues strongly for a critical role of LcrV in the Yop translocation process. Additional evidence supporting this role was obtained by genetic analysis. LcrV was found to be present on the bacterial surface before the establishment of bacteria target cell contact. These findings suggest that LcrV serves an important role in the initiation of the translocation process and provides one possible explanation for the mechanism of LcrV-induced protective immunity.

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