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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2009 Nov;300(2):256-64. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6968.2009.01801.x. Epub 2009 Sep 21.

Legionella pneumophila secretes an endoglucanase that belongs to the family-5 of glycosyl hydrolases and is dependent upon type II secretion.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Northwestern University Medical School, 320 East Superior St., Chicago, IL 60611, USA.


Examination of cell-free culture supernatants revealed that Legionella pneumophila strains secrete an endoglucanase activity. Legionella pneumophila lspF mutants were deficient for this activity, indicating that the endoglucanase is secreted by the bacterium's type II protein secretion (T2S) system. Inactivation of celA, encoding a member of the family-5 of glycosyl hydrolases, abolished the endoglucanase activity in L. pneumophila culture supernatants. The cloned celA gene conferred activity upon recombinant Escherichia coli. Thus, CelA is the major secreted endoglucanase of L. pneumophila. Mutants inactivated for celA grew normally in protozoa and macrophage, indicating that CelA is not required for the intracellular phase of L. pneumophila. The CelA endoglucanase is one of at least 25 proteins secreted by the type II system of L. pneumophila and the 17th type of enzyme effector associated with this pathway. Only a subset of the other Legionella species tested expressed secreted endoglucanase activity, suggesting that the T2S output differs among the different legionellae. Overall, this study represents the first documentation of an endoglucanase (EC being produced by a strain of Legionella.

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