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Cell Host Microbe. 2012 Jan 19;11(1):46-57. doi: 10.1016/j.chom.2011.11.009.

The Legionella pneumophila effector DrrA is sufficient to stimulate SNARE-dependent membrane fusion.

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Section of Microbial Pathogenesis, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06526, USA.


The intracellular bacterial pathogen Legionella pneumophila subverts host membrane transport pathways to promote fusion of vesicles exiting the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) with the pathogen-containing vacuole. During infection there is noncanonical pairing of the SNARE protein Sec22b on ER-derived vesicles with plasma membrane (PM)-localized syntaxin proteins on the vacuole. We show that the L. pneumophila Rab1-targeting effector DrrA is sufficient to stimulate this noncanonical SNARE association and promote membrane fusion. DrrA activation of the Rab1 GTPase on PM-derived organelles stimulated the tethering of ER-derived vesicles with the PM-derived organelle, resulting in vesicle fusion through the pairing of Sec22b with the PM syntaxin proteins. Thus, the effector protein DrrA stimulates a host membrane transport pathway that enables ER-derived vesicles to remodel a PM-derived organelle, suggesting that Rab1 activation at the PM is sufficient to promote the recruitment and fusion of ER-derived vesicles.

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