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J Bacteriol. 1998 Sep;180(18):4912-21.

YscB of Yersinia pestis functions as a specific chaperone for YopN.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Miami School of Medicine, Miami, Florida 33176, USA.


Following contact with a eucaryotic cell, Yersinia species pathogenic for humans (Y. pestis, Y. pseudotuberculosis, and Y. enterocolitica) export and translocate a distinct set of virulence proteins (YopE, YopH, YopJ, YopM, and YpkA) from the bacterium into the eucaryotic cell. During in vitro growth at 37 degrees C in the presence of calcium, Yop secretion is blocked; however, in the absence of calcium, Yop secretion is triggered. Yop secretion occurs via a plasmid-encoded type III, or "contact-dependent," secretion system. The secreted YopN (also known as LcrE), TyeA, and LcrG proteins are necessary to prevent Yop secretion in the presence of calcium and prior to contact with a eucaryotic cell. In this paper we characterize the role of the yscB gene product in the regulation of Yop secretion in Y. pestis. A yscB deletion mutant secreted YopM and V antigen both in the presence and in the absence of calcium; however, the export of YopN was specifically reduced in this strain. Complementation with a functional copy of yscB in trans completely restored the wild-type secretion phenotype for YopM, YopN, and V antigen. The YscB amino acid sequence showed significant similarities to those of SycE and SycH, the specific Yop chaperones for YopE and YopH, respectively. Protein cross-linking and immunoprecipitation studies demonstrated a specific interaction between YscB and YopN. In-frame deletions in yopN eliminating the coding region for amino acids 51 to 85 or 6 to 100 prevented the interaction of YopN with YscB. Taken together, these results indicate that YscB functions as a specific chaperone for YopN in Y. pestis.

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