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Mol Microbiol. 2003 Dec;50(5):1553-67.

Enteropathogenic and enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli deliver a novel effector called Cif, which blocks cell cycle G2/M transition.

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UMR 1225, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique-Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire de Toulouse, 23 chemin des Capelles, 31076 Toulouse Cedex, France.


Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) and enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) are closely related pathogens. Both use a type III secretion system (TTSS) encoded by the 'locus of enterocyte effacement' (LEE) to subvert and attach to epithelial cells through the injection of a repertoire of effector molecules. Here, we report the identification of a new TTSS translocated effector molecule called Cif, which blocks cell cycle G2/M transition and induces the formation of stress fibres through the recruitment of focal adhesions. Cif is not encoded by the LEE but by a lambdoid prophage present in EPEC and EHEC. A cif mutant causes localized effacement of microvilli and intimately attaches to the host cell surface, but is defective in the ability to block mitosis. When expressed in TTSS competent LEE-positive pathogens, Cif is injected into the infected epithelial cells. These cells arrested at the G2/M phase displayed accumulation of inactive phosphorylated Cdk1. In conclusion, Cif is a new member of a growing family of bacterial cyclomodulins that subvert the host eukaryotic cell cycle.

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