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Cell Microbiol. 2006 Feb;8(2):353-64.

Phosphorylation, ubiquitination and degradation of listeriolysin O in mammalian cells: role of the PEST-like sequence.

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Graduate Group in Microbiology, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-3202, USA.


Listeria monocytogenes is a bacterial pathogen that grows within the cytosol of infected host cells. Entry into the cytosol is largely mediated by a secreted bacterial cytolysin, listeriolysin O (LLO). In order to prevent host cell damage, the pore-forming activity of LLO is restricted to the phagosome. Compartmentalization of LLO requires a PEST-like sequence; PEST sequences can direct eukaryotic proteins for proteasomal degradation. Here we test the hypothesis that LLO's PEST-like sequence compartmentalizes pore-forming activity by targeting this bacterial protein for degradation in the host cytosol. We show that intracellular LLO was degraded in a proteasome-dependent manner, and that, prior to degradation, LLO was ubiquitinated and was phosphorylated within the PEST-like sequence. However, wild-type LLO and PEST region mutants had similarly short intracellular half-lives and both the wild-type and mutant proteins were stabilized by inhibitors of host proteasomes. Additionally, blocking host proteasomes did not cause toxicity in a wild-type infection, but enhanced the cytotoxicity of PEST region mutants. Together with the observation that PEST region mutants exhibit higher intracellular LLO levels than wild-type bacteria, these data suggest that LLO's PEST-like region does not mediate proteasomal degradation by the host, but controls LLO production in the cytosol.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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