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Biochem J. 2011 Oct 1;439(1):79-83. doi: 10.1042/BJ20110577.

Modulation of microtubule dynamics by a TIR domain protein from the intracellular pathogen Brucella melitensis.

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Department of Pathobiological Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706, USA.


TIR (Toll/interleukin-1 receptor) domain-containing proteins play a crucial role in innate immunity in eukaryotes. Brucella is a highly infectious intracellular bacterium that encodes a TIR domain protein (TcpB) to subvert host innate immune responses to establish a beneficial niche for pathogenesis. TcpB inhibits NF-κB (nuclear factor κB) activation and pro-inflammatory cytokine secretions mediated by TLR (Toll-like receptor) 2 and TLR4. In the present study, we have demonstrated that TcpB modulates microtubule dynamics by acting as a stabilization factor. TcpB increased the rate of nucleation as well as the polymerization phases of microtubule formation in a similar manner to paclitaxel. TcpB could efficiently inhibit nocodazole- or cold-induced microtubule disassembly. Microtubule stabilization by TcpB is attributed to the BB-loop region of the TIR domain, and a point mutation affected the microtubule stabilization as well as the TLR-suppression properties of TcpB.

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