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Mol Microbiol. 1997 Apr;24(1):155-67.

Functional analysis of ssaJ and the ssaK/U operon, 13 genes encoding components of the type III secretion apparatus of Salmonella Pathogenicity Island 2.

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1
Lehrstuhl für Bakteriologie, Max von Pettenkofer-Institut für Hygiene und Medizinische Mikrobiologie, München, Germany.

Abstract

We have investigated the structure and transcriptional organization of 13 genes of Salmonella Pathogenicity Island 2 (SPI2) that encode components of the second type III secretion apparatus of Salmonella typhimurium. ssaK, L, M, V, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U constitute one operon of 10 kb. ssaJ lles upstream of ssaK and is the terminal gene of another operon. The deduced products of ssaJ, ssaK, ssaV, ssaN, ssaO, ssaQ, ssaR, ssaS, ssaT, and ssaU show greatest similarity to the Yersinia spp. genes yscJ, yscL, lcrD, yscN, yscO, yscQ, yscR, yscS, yscT, and yscU, respectively. The products of the ssaL, ssaM and ssaP genes do not have significant similarity to products of other type III secretion systems, and might be important for the specific function of the SPI2 type III secretion system. Bacterial strains carrying different ssa mutations display minor alterations in terms of serum sensitivity when compared with the wild-type strain, but none are defective in replication within macrophage-like RAW 264.7 cells. However, some of the ssa mutant strains invade HEp2 cells less efficiently and are less cytotoxic to RAW 264.7 macrophages than the wild-type strain. We show that the invasion defect is correlated with a lack of SipC in culture supernatants of these mutant strains. SipC is a product of the SPI1 type III secretion system of S. typhimurium, and is important for epithelial cell invasion. Therefore, mutations in SPI2 can affect the SPI1 secretion system, which raises the possibility of an interaction between the two type III secretion systems.

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