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Infect Immun. 2015 Oct;83(10):3825-37. doi: 10.1128/IAI.00672-15. Epub 2015 Jul 13.

Type II Secretion-Dependent Degradative and Cytotoxic Activities Mediated by Stenotrophomonas maltophilia Serine Proteases StmPr1 and StmPr2.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, Illinois, USA.
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, Illinois, USA


Stenotrophomonas maltophilia is an emerging opportunistic pathogen that primarily causes pneumonia and bacteremia in immunocompromised individuals. We recently reported that S. maltophilia strain K279a encodes the Xps type II secretion system and that Xps promotes rounding, actin rearrangement, detachment, and death in the human lung epithelial cell line A549. Here, we show that Xps-dependent cell rounding and detachment occur with multiple human and murine cell lines and that serine protease inhibitors block Xps-mediated rounding and detachment of A549 cells. Using genetic analysis, we determined that the serine proteases StmPr1 and StmPr2, which were confirmed to be Xps substrates, are predominantly responsible for secreted proteolytic activities exhibited by strain K279a, as well as the morphological and cytotoxic effects on A549 cells. Supernatants from strain K279a also promoted the degradation of type I collagen, fibrinogen, and fibronectin in a predominantly Xps- and protease-dependent manner, although some Xps-independent degradation of fibrinogen was observed. Finally, Xps, and predominantly StmPr1, degraded interleukin 8 (IL-8) secreted by A549 cells during coculture with strain K279a. Our findings indicate that while StmPr1 and StmPr2 are predominantly responsible for A549 cell rounding, extracellular matrix protein degradation, and IL-8 degradation, additional Xps substrates also contribute to these activities. Altogether, our data provide new insight into the virulence potential of the S. maltophilia Xps type II secretion system and its StmPr1 and StmPr2 substrates.

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