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Mol Microbiol. 2000 Jun;36(6):1436-46.

A chromosomally encoded type III secretion pathway in Yersinia enterocolitica is important in virulence.

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Department of Microbiology, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, USA.

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  • Mol Microbiol 2002 Apr;44(2):599.


Numerous Gram-negative bacteria use a type III, or contact dependent, secretion system to deliver proteins into the cytosol of host cells. All of these systems identified to date have been shown to have a role in pathogenesis. We have identified 13 genes on the Yersinia enterocolitica chromosome that encode a type III secretion apparatus plus two associated putative regulatory genes. In order to determine the function of this chromosomally-encoded secretion apparatus, we created an in frame deletion of a gene that has homology to the hypothesized inner membrane pore, ysaV. The ysaV mutant strain failed to secrete eight proteins, called Ysps, normally secreted by the parental strain when grown at 28 degrees C in Luria-Bertani (LB) broth supplemented with 0.4 M NaCl. Disruption of the ysaV gene had no effect on motility or phospholipase activity, suggesting this chromosomally encoded type III secretion pathway is distinct from the flagella secretion pathway of Y. enterocolitica. Deletion of the ysaV gene in a virulence plasmid positive strain had no effect on in vitro secretion of Yops by the plasmid-encoded type III secretion apparatus. Secretion of the Ysps was unaffected by the presence or absence of the virulence plasmid, suggesting the chromosomally encoded and plasmid-encoded type III secretion pathways act independently. Y. enterocolitica thus has three type III secretion pathways that appear to act independently. The ysaV mutant strain was somewhat attenuated in virulence compared with the wild type in the mouse oral model of infection (an approximately 0.9 log difference in LD50). The ysaV mutant strain was nearly as virulent as the wild type when inoculated intraperitoneally in the mouse model. A ysaV probe hybridized to sequences in other Yersinia spp. and homologues were found in the incomplete Y. pestis genome sequence, indicating a possible role for this system throughout the genus.

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