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Mol Microbiol. 1999 Sep;33(5):971-81.

Insertion of a Yop translocation pore into the macrophage plasma membrane by Yersinia enterocolitica: requirement for translocators YopB and YopD, but not LcrG.

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Microbial Pathogenesis Unit, Christian de Duve Institute of Cellular Pathology (ICP) and Faculté de Médecine, Université Catholique de Louvain, B-1200 Brussels, Belgium.


The Yersinia survival strategy is based on its ability to inject effector Yops into the cytosol of host cells. Translocation of these effectors across the eukaryotic cell membrane requires YopB, YopD and LcrG, but the mechanism is unclear. An effector polymutant of Y. pseudotuberculosis has a YopB-dependent contact haemolytic activity, indicating that YopB participates in the formation of a pore in the cell membrane. Here, we have investigated the formation of such a pore in the plasma membrane of macrophages. Infection of PU5-1.8 macrophages with an effector polymutant Y. enterocolitica led to complete flattening of the cells, similar to treatment with the pore-forming streptolysin O from Streptococcus pyogenes. Upon infection, cells released the low-molecular-weight marker BCECF (623 Da) but not the high-molecular-weight lactate dehydrogenase, indicating that there was no membrane lysis but, rather, insertion of a pore of small size into the macrophage plasma membrane. Permeation to lucifer yellow CH (443 Da) but not to Texas red-X phalloidin (1490 Da) supported this hypothesis. All these events were found to be dependent not only on translocator YopB as expected but also on YopD, which was required equally. In contrast, LcrG was not necessary. Consistently, lysis of sheep erythrocytes was also dependent on YopB and YopD, but not on LcrG.

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