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Infect Immun. 2004 Jan;72(1):546-58.

The ADP ribosyltransferase domain of Pseudomonas aeruginosa ExoT contributes to its biological activities.

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  • 1Departments of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California 94143, USA.


ExoT is a type III secreted effector protein found in almost all strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and is required for full virulence in an animal model of acute pneumonia. It is comprised of an N-terminal domain with GTPase activating protein (GAP) activity towards Rho family GTPases and a C-terminal ADP ribosyltransferase (ADPRT) domain with minimal activity towards a synthetic substrate in vitro. Consistent with its activity as a Rho family GTPase, ExoT has been shown to inhibit P. aeruginosa internalization into epithelial cells and macrophages, disrupt the actin cytoskeleton through a Rho-dependent pathway, and inhibit wound repair in a scrape model of injured epithelium. We have previously shown that mutation of the invariant arginine of the GAP domain to lysine (R149K) results in complete loss of GAP activity in vitro but only partially inhibits ExoT anti-internalization and cell rounding activity. We have constructed in-frame deletions and point mutations within the ADPRT domain in order to test whether this domain might account for the residual activity observed in ExoT GAP mutants. Deletion of a majority of the ADPRT domain (residues 234 to 438) or point mutations of the ADPRT catalytic site (residues 383 to 385) led to distinct changes in host cell morphology and substantially reduced the ability of ExoT to inhibit in vitro epithelial wound healing over a 24-h period. In contrast, only subtle effects on the efficiency of ExoT-induced bacterial internalization were observed in the ADPRT mutant forms. Expression of each domain individually in Saccharomyces cerevisiae was toxic, whereas expression of each of the catalytically inactive mutant domains was not. Collectively, these data demonstrate that the ADPRT domain of ExoT is active in vivo and contributes to the pathogenesis of P. aeruginosa infections.

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