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PLoS Pathog. 2012 Jan;8(1):e1002459. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1002459. Epub 2012 Jan 5.

Legionella pneumophila secretes a mitochondrial carrier protein during infection.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Monash University, Clayton, Australia.

Erratum in

  • PLoS Pathog. 2012 Jan;8(1). doi: 10.1371/annotation/5039541e-b48a-4cfc-84b1-21566e311a62. Marobbio, Carlo M [corrected to Marobbio, Carlo M T].
  • PLoS Pathog. 2012 Jan;8(1). doi:10.1371/annotation/ee7c807b-032c-4d1f-b5ac-0f6620a2ef24.


The Mitochondrial Carrier Family (MCF) is a signature group of integral membrane proteins that transport metabolites across the mitochondrial inner membrane in eukaryotes. MCF proteins are characterized by six transmembrane segments that assemble to form a highly-selective channel for metabolite transport. We discovered a novel MCF member, termed Legionellanucleotide carrier Protein (LncP), encoded in the genome of Legionella pneumophila, the causative agent of Legionnaire's disease. LncP was secreted via the bacterial Dot/Icm type IV secretion system into macrophages and assembled in the mitochondrial inner membrane. In a yeast cellular system, LncP induced a dominant-negative phenotype that was rescued by deleting an endogenous ATP carrier. Substrate transport studies on purified LncP reconstituted in liposomes revealed that it catalyzes unidirectional transport and exchange of ATP transport across membranes, thereby supporting a role for LncP as an ATP transporter. A hidden Markov model revealed further MCF proteins in the intracellular pathogens, Legionella longbeachae and Neorickettsia sennetsu, thereby challenging the notion that MCF proteins exist exclusively in eukaryotic organisms.

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