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Cell. 2013 Jul 3;154(1):146-56. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2013.06.004.

A bacterial virulence protein promotes pathogenicity by inhibiting the bacterium's own F1Fo ATP synthase.

Author information

1
Department of Microbial Pathogenesis, Boyer Center for Molecular Medicine, Yale School of Medicine, 295 Congress Avenue, New Haven, CT 06536-0812, USA.

Abstract

Several intracellular pathogens, including Salmonella enterica and Mycobacterium tuberculosis, require the virulence protein MgtC to survive within macrophages and to cause a lethal infection in mice. We now report that, unlike secreted virulence factors that target the host vacuolar ATPase to withstand phagosomal acidity, the MgtC protein acts on Salmonella's own F1Fo ATP synthase. This complex couples proton translocation to ATP synthesis/hydrolysis and is required for virulence. We establish that MgtC interacts with the a subunit of the F1Fo ATP synthase, hindering ATP-driven proton translocation and NADH-driven ATP synthesis in inverted vesicles. An mgtC null mutant displays heightened ATP levels and an acidic cytoplasm, whereas mgtC overexpression decreases ATP levels. A single amino acid substitution in MgtC that prevents binding to the F1Fo ATP synthase abolishes control of ATP levels and attenuates pathogenicity. MgtC provides a singular example of a virulence protein that promotes pathogenicity by interfering with another virulence protein.

PMID:
23827679
PMCID:
PMC3736803
DOI:
10.1016/j.cell.2013.06.004
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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