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Mol Microbiol. 2007 Jan;63(2):605-22. Epub 2006 Dec 14.

Dual role of the MgtC virulence factor in host and non-host environments.

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1
INSERM U431, Avenir Team, Faculté de Médecine, Avenue J. F. Kennedy, 30908 Nîmes Cedex 02, France.

Abstract

MgtC is required for intramacrophage replication of intracellular pathogens and growth in low Mg(2+) medium. A link between these two phenotypes has been proposed due to putative Mg(2+) deprivation inside phagosome. MgtC is part of a family of proteins that share a conserved N-terminal transmembrane domain and a variable C-terminal domain. A combination of predictive and experimental approaches indicates that the Salmonella MgtC C-terminal domain is cytoplasmic, adopts a fold also found in metal transporters and RNA interacting domain, and does not bind Mg(2+). MgtC homologues from diverse gamma-proteobacteria, including the extracellular pathogens Yersinia pestis, Photorhabdus luminescens and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, have been expressed in a SalmonellaDeltamgtC strain. The Y. pestis MgtC fully replaced the Salmonella MgtC whereas P. luminescens or P. aeruginosa MgtC complemented only in low Mg(2+) medium, thus dissociating for the first time the two MgtC-related phenotypes. In addition, we identified single amino acids changes that prevent or promote MgtC role in macrophages without affecting MgtC role in low Mg(2+) culture. A SalmonellaDeltamgtC strain showed elongated and autoaggregated bacteria in low Mg(2+) medium but not in macrophages. Taken together our results suggest that MgtC has a dual role when bacteria localize in macrophages or low Mg(2+) environment.

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