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Mol Microbiol. 2003 May;48(4):913-31.

IcsB, secreted via the type III secretion system, is chaperoned by IpgA and required at the post-invasion stage of Shigella pathogenicity.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Institute of Medical Science, University of Tokyo, 4-6-1, Shirokanedai, Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-8639, Japan.


Shigella deliver a subset of effector proteins such as IpaA, IpaB and IpaC via the type III secretion system (TTSS) into host cells during the infection of colonic epithelial cells. Many bacterial effectors including some from Shigella require specific chaperones for protection from degradation and targeting to the TTSS. In this study, we have investigated the role of the icsB gene located upstream of the ipaBCDA operon in Shigella infection because the role of IcsB as a virulence factor remains unknown. Here, we found that the IcsB protein is secreted via the TTSS of Shigella in vitro and in vivo. We show that IpgA protein encoded by ipgA, the gene immediately downstream of icsB, serves as the chaperone required for the stabilization and secretion of IcsB. We have shown that IcsB binds to IpgA in bacterial cytosol and the binding site is in the middle of the IcsB protein. Intriguingly, although its significance in Shigella pathogenicity is as yet unclear, the icsB gene can be read-through into the ipgA gene to create a translational fusion protein. Furthermore, the contribution of IcsB to the pathogenicity of Shigella was demonstrated by plaque-forming assay and the Sereny test. The ability of the icsB mutant to form plaques was greatly reduced compared with that of the wild type in MDCK cell monolayers. Furthermore, when guinea pig eyes were infected with a non-polar icsB mutant, the bacteria failed to provoke keratoconjunctivitis. These results suggest that IcsB is secreted via the TTSS, chaperoned by IpgA, and required at the post-invasion stage of Shigella pathogenicity.

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