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Microbiology. 2005 Nov;151(Pt 11):3575-87.

Factors triggering type III secretion in Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Author information

1
Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, PO Box 100266, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610, USA.

Abstract

The type III secretion system of Pseudomonas aeruginosa is tightly regulated by various environmental signals, such as low calcium and contact with the host cell. However, the exact signals triggering type III secretion are unknown. The present study describes the finding that secretion of P. aeruginosa type III effector molecules requires protein factors from serum and L broth, designated type III secretion factors (TSFs), in addition to the low-calcium environment. In the absence of TSF or calcium chelator EGTA, basal levels of type III effector molecules are accumulated intracellularly. Addition of TSF and EGTA together effectively triggers the secretion of pre-existing effector molecules in a short time, even before the active expression of type III genes; thus, active type III gene expression does not seem to be a prerequisite for type III secretion. A search for TSF molecules in serum and L broth resulted in the identification of albumin and casein as the functional TSF molecules. Although there is no clear sequence similarity between albumin and casein, both proteins are known to have a low-affinity, high-capacity calcium-binding property. Tests of well-studied calcium-binding proteins seemed to indicate that low-affinity calcium-binding proteins have TSF activity, although the requirement of low-affinity calcium-binding ability for the TSF activity is not clear. P. aeruginosa seems to have evolved a sensing mechanism to detect target cells for type III injection through host-derived proteins in combination with a low-calcium signal. Disruption of the bacterial ability to sense low calcium or TSF might be a valid avenue to the effective control of this bacterial pathogen.

PMID:
16272380
DOI:
10.1099/mic.0.28277-0
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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