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Microb Pathog. 2003 Dec;35(6):243-58.

Genetic analysis of the formation of the Ysc-Yop translocation pore in macrophages by Yersinia enterocolitica: role of LcrV, YscF and YopN.

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Christian de Duve Institute of Cellular Pathology and Faculté de Médecine, Université de Louvain, B-1200, Brussels, Belgium.


The Ysc-Yop type III secretion (TTS) system allows extracellular Yersinia bacteria, adhering to eukaryotic target cells, to inject Yop effector proteins in the cytosol of these cells. The secretion apparatus, called the injectisome, ends up with a needle-like structure made of YscF. YopN, one of the proteins secreted by the injectisome is thought to act as a plug. YopB, YopD and LcrV, three other proteins secreted by the injectisome and called 'translocators' form a pore allowing translocation of the Yop effectors across the target cell plasma membrane. Here, we tested the role of LcrV, YscF and YopN in the formation of this pore in macrophages by monitoring the release of the low-molecular-weight fluorescent dye BCECF (2',7'-bis-(2-carboxyethyl)-5-(and-6)-carboxyfluorescein, acetoxymethyl ester, 623Da) and of the high-molecular-weight lactate dehydrogenase (LDH, 135 kDa). BCECF is released through the translocation pore itself provided no Yop effector is trafficking through the channel. In contrast, LDH is released by the osmotic lysis of the target cell that occurs after pore formation. This release is reduced by the GAP activity of YopE. In order to study the role of LcrV, one has to circumvent the regulatory effect of LcrV on the synthesis of YopB and YopD. We observed here that this regulatory role of LcrV is lost in a yopQ mutant and hence we studied the role of LcrV in a yopQ mutant background. A lcrV, yopQ double mutant was deficient in pore formation while able to produce YopB and YopD. Pore formation was restored by the introduction of lcrV(+) but not yopQ(+) confirming that LcrV itself is directly required for pore formation. Bacteria secreting only YopB, YopD and LcrV could form pores, showing that YopB, YopD and LcrV are sufficient for pore formation provided they are secreted by the same bacterium. LcrV is not involved in secretion of YopB and YopD as suggested previously. Bacteria producing normal Ysc injectisomes, including the YscF needle but no translocators did not form pores, indicating that the needle is not sufficient by itself for pore formation, as was also suggested. yopN mutant bacteria formed needles and released BCECF even if they secreted the effectors. This observation suggests that many translocation pores are not filled in the absence of YopN and thus that YopN might form a link between the needle and the pore, guiding the effectors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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