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FEBS Lett. 2011 Aug 4;585(15):2431-6. doi: 10.1016/j.febslet.2011.07.004. Epub 2011 Jul 13.

A single amino acid change in the transmembrane domain of the VirB8 protein affects dimerization, interaction with VirB10 and Brucella suis virulence.

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INSERM U1047, UFR de Médecine, Nîmes, France.


VirB8 is a critical component of the Brucella suis type IV secretion system (T4SS). We previously showed that the transmembrane (TM) domain plays an essential role in interactions of this protein with itself and the other proteins of the T4SS. We report that a point mutation in this TM domain stabilizes homodimers of VirB8 and heterodimers with VirB10. A similar variant of Agrobacterium tumefaciens VirB8 showed the same phenotype. The B. suis VirB8 variant was unable to complement a virB8 mutant and displayed a dominant negative phenotype when expressed in wild type B. suis. We suggest that interaction of VirB8 with VirB10 could play a major role in the correct function of the B. suis VirB T4SS.

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