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Mol Microbiol. 1998 Aug;29(3):799-813.

YopD of Yersinia pseudotuberculosis is translocated into the cytosol of HeLa epithelial cells: evidence of a structural domain necessary for translocation.

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Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, UmeƄ University, Sweden.


Yersinia pseudotuberculosis YopB and YopD proteins are essential for translocation of Yop effector proteins into the target cell cytosol. YopB is suggested to mediate pore formation in the target cell plasma membrane, allowing translocation of Yop effector proteins, although the function of YopD is unclear. To investigate the role in translocation for YopD, a mutant strain in Y. pseudotuberculosis was constructed containing an in frame deletion of essentially the entire yopD gene. As shown recently for the Y. pestis YopD protein, we found that the in vitro low calcium response controlling virulence gene expression was negatively regulated by YopD. This yopD null mutant (YPIII/pIB621) was also non-cytotoxic towards HeLa cell monolayers, supporting the role for YopD in the translocation process. Although other constituents of the Yersinia translocase apparatus (YopB, YopK and YopN) are not translocated into the host cell cytosol, fractionation of infected HeLa cells allowed us to identify the cytosolic localization of YopD by the wild-type strain (YPIII/pIB102), but not by strains defective in either YopD or YopB. YopD was also identified by immunofluorescence in the cytoplasm of HeLa cell monolayers infected with a multiple yop mutant strain (YPIII/pIB29MEKA). These results demonstrate a dual function for YopD in negative regulation of Yop production and Yop effector translocation, including the YopD protein itself. To investigate whether an amphipathic domain near the C-terminus of YopD is involved in the translocation process, a mutant strain (YPIII/pIB155deltaD278-292) was constructed that is devoid of this region. Phenotypically, this small in frame deltayopD278-292 deletion mutant was indistinguishable from the yopD null mutant. The truncated YopD protein and Yop effectors were not translocated into the cytosol of HeLa cell monolayers infected with this mutant. The comparable regulatory and translocation phenotypes displayed by the small in frame deltayopD278-292 deletion and deltayopD null mutants suggest that regulation of Yop synthesis and Yop translocation are intimately coupled. We present an intriguing scenario to the Yersinia infection process that highlights the need for polarized translocation of YopD to specifically establish translocation of Yop effectors. These observations are contrary to previous suggestions that members of the translocase apparatus were not translocated into the host cell cytosol.

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