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Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2017 Jan 25;6:204. doi: 10.3389/fcimb.2016.00204. eCollection 2016.

Comparative Genomics of the Zoonotic Pathogen Ehrlichia chaffeensis Reveals Candidate Type IV Effectors and Putative Host Cell Targets.

Author information

1
CIRAD, UMR ASTREGuadeloupe, France; INRA, UMR 1309 ASTREMontpellier, France; Université des AntillesGuadeloupe, France.
2
CIRAD, UMR ASTREGuadeloupe, France; INRA, UMR 1309 ASTREMontpellier, France.

Abstract

During infection, some intracellular pathogenic bacteria use a dedicated multiprotein complex known as the type IV secretion system to deliver type IV effector (T4E) proteins inside the host cell. These T4Es allow the bacteria to evade host defenses and to subvert host cell processes to their own advantage. Ehrlichia chaffeensis is a tick-transmitted obligate intracellular pathogenic bacterium, which causes human monocytic ehrlichiosis. Using comparative whole genome analysis, we identified the relationship between eight available E. chaffeensis genomes isolated from humans and show that these genomes are highly conserved. We identified the candidate core type IV effectome of E. chaffeensis and some conserved intracellular adaptive strategies. We assigned the West Paces strain to genetic group II and predicted the repertoires of T4Es encoded by E. chaffeensis genomes, as well as some putative host cell targets. We demonstrated that predicted T4Es are preferentially distributed in gene sparse regions of the genome. In addition to the identification of the two known type IV effectors of Anaplasmataceae, we identified two novel candidates T4Es, ECHLIB_RS02720 and ECHLIB_RS04640, which are not present in all E. chaffeensis strains and could explain some variations in inter-strain virulence. We also identified another novel candidate T4E, ECHLIB_RS02720, a hypothetical protein exhibiting EPIYA, and NLS domains as well as a classical type IV secretion signal, suggesting an important role inside the host cell. Overall, our results agree with current knowledge of Ehrlichia molecular pathogenesis, and reveal novel candidate T4Es that require experimental validation. This work demonstrates that comparative effectomics enables identification of important host pathways targeted by the bacterial pathogen. Our study, which focuses on the type IV effector repertoires among several strains of E. chaffeensis species, is an original approach and provides rational putative targets for the design of alternative therapeutics against intracellular pathogens. The collection of putative effectors of E. chaffeensis described in our paper could serve as a roadmap for future studies of the function and evolution of effectors.

KEYWORDS:

Ehrlichia chaffeensis; comparative genomics; genome plasticity; host-pathogen interactions; type IV effectors

PMID:
28180111
PMCID:
PMC5263134
DOI:
10.3389/fcimb.2016.00204
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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