Identification of a type IV secretion substrate of Brucella abortus that participates in the early stages of intracellular survival.
ABSTRACT: Brucella abortus, the aetiological agent of bovine brucellosis, is an intracellular pathogen whose virulence is completely dependent on a type IV secretion system. This secretion system translocates effector proteins into the host cell to modulate the intracellular fate of the bacterium in order to establish a secure niche were it actively replicates. Although much has been done in understanding how this secretion system participates in the virulence process, few effector proteins have been identified to date. We describe here the identification of a type IV secretion substrate (SepA) that is only present in Brucella spp. and has no detectable homology to known proteins. This protein is secreted in a virB-dependent manner in a two-step process involving a periplasmic intermediate and secretion is necessary for its function. The deletion mutant showed a defect in the early stages of intracellular replication in professional and non-professional phagocytes although it invades the cells more efficiently than the wild-type parental strain. Our results indicate that, even though the mutant was more invasive, it had a defect in excluding the lysosomal marker Lamp-1 and was inactivated more efficiently during the early phases of the intracellular life cycle.
Project description:Brucella abortus, the bacterial agent of the worldwide zoonosis brucellosis, primarily infects host phagocytes, where it undergoes an intracellular cycle within a dedicated membrane-bound vacuole, the Brucella-containing vacuole (BCV). Initially of endosomal origin (eBCV), BCVs are remodeled into replication-permissive organelles (rBCV) derived from the host endoplasmic reticulum, a process that requires modulation of host secretory functions via delivery of effector proteins by the Brucella VirB type IV secretion system (T4SS). Following replication, rBCVs are converted into autophagic vacuoles (aBCVs) that facilitate bacterial egress and subsequent infections, arguing that the bacterium sequentially manipulates multiple cellular pathways to complete its cycle. The VirB T4SS is essential for rBCV biogenesis, as VirB-deficient mutants are stalled in eBCVs and cannot mediate rBCV biogenesis. This has precluded analysis of whether the VirB apparatus also drives subsequent stages of the Brucella intracellular cycle. To address this issue, we have generated a B. abortus strain in which VirB T4SS function is conditionally controlled via anhydrotetracycline (ATc)-dependent complementation of a deletion of the virB11 gene encoding the VirB11 ATPase. We show in murine bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMMs) that early VirB production is essential for optimal rBCV biogenesis and bacterial replication. Transient expression of virB11 prior to infection was sufficient to mediate normal rBCV biogenesis and bacterial replication but led to T4SS inactivation and decreased aBCV formation and bacterial release, indicating that these postreplication stages are also T4SS dependent. Hence, our findings support the hypothesis of additional, postreplication roles of type IV secretion in the Brucella intracellular cycle.Many intracellular bacterial pathogens encode specialized secretion systems that deliver effector proteins into host cells to mediate the multiple stages of their intracellular cycles. Because these intracellular events occur sequentially, classical genetic approaches cannot address the late roles that these apparatuses play, as secretion-deficient mutants cannot proceed past their initial defect. Here we have designed a functionally controllable VirB type IV secretion system (T4SS) in the bacterial pathogen Brucella abortus to decipher its temporal requirements during the bacterium's intracellular cycle in macrophages. By controlling production of the VirB11 ATPase, which energizes the T4SS, we show not only that this apparatus is required early to generate the Brucella replicative organelle but also that it contributes to completion of the bacterium's cycle and bacterial egress. Our findings expand upon the pathogenic functions of the Brucella VirB T4SS and illustrate targeting of secretion ATPases as a useful strategy to manipulate the activity of bacterial secretion systems.
Project description:The inflammasome contains intracellular receptors that recognize various pathogen-associated molecular patterns and play crucial roles in innate immune responses to invading pathogens. Non-canonical inflammasome activation is mediated by caspase-4/11, which recognizes intracellular LPS and promotes pyroptosis and secretion of proinflammatory cytokines. Brucella species are infectious intracellular pathogens that replicate in professional and non-professional phagocytic cells and subvert immune responses for chronic persistence in the host. The Brucella effector protein TcpB suppresses Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2)- and TLR4-mediated innate immune responses by targeted degradation of the Toll/interleukin-1 receptor (TIR) domain-containing adaptor protein. TcpB is a cell-permeable protein with multiple functions, and its intracellular targets other than TIR domain-containing adaptor protein remain unclear. Here, we report that TcpB induces ubiquitination and degradation of the inflammatory caspases 1, 4, and 11. Furthermore, in both mouse and human macrophages, TcpB attenuated LPS-induced non-canonical inflammasome activation and suppressed pyroptosis and secretion of IL-1? and IL-1? induced by intracellular LPS delivery. The intact TIR domain was essential for TcpB to subvert the non-canonical inflammasome activation as a TcpB(G158A) mutant failed to suppress pyroptotic cell death and inflammatory responses. Brucella-infected macrophages exhibited minimal pyroptosis but secreted IL-1?, which was suppressed by TcpB. We also demonstrated that TcpB protein can efficiently attenuate Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium-induced pyroptosis and proinflammatory cytokine secretion in macrophages. Because TcpB suppresses both TLR4- and caspase-4/11-mediated inflammation, TcpB might be a candidate target for developing drugs against LPS-induced septicemia.
Project description:Secretion of proteins in Gram-negative bacteria is a high-energy-consuming process that requires translocation across two membranes and a periplasmic space composed of a mesh-like layer, the peptidoglycan. To achieve this, bacteria have evolved complex secretion systems that cross these barriers, and in many cases there are specific peptidoglycanases that degrade the peptidoglycan to allow the proper assembly of the secretion machinery. We describe here the identification and characterization of a muramidase in Brucella abortus that participates in the intracellular multiplication in professional and nonprofessional phagocytes. We demonstrated that this protein has peptidoglycanase activity, that a strain with a clean deletion of the gene displayed a defect in the early stages of the intracellular multiplication curve, and that this is dependent on the lytic activity. While neither the attachment nor the invasion of the strain was affected, we demonstrated that it had a defect in excluding the lysosomal marker LAMP-1 but not in acquiring the reticulum endoplasmic marker calnexin, indicating that the gene participates in the early stages of the intracellular trafficking but not in the establishment of the replicative niche. Analysis of the assembly status and functionality of the VirB secretion apparatus indicated that the mutant has affected the proper function of this central virulence factor.
Project description:Brucella is an intracellular bacterium that causes the zoonosis brucellosis worldwide. Alveolar macrophages (AM) constitute the main cell target of inhaled Brucella. Brucella thwarts immune surveillance and evokes endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress to replicate in macrophages via virulence factors. The GntR regulators family was concentrated as an important virulence factor in controlling virulence and intracellular survival of Brucella. However, the detailed underlying mechanism for the host-pathogen interaction is poorly understood. In this study the BSS2_II0438 mutant (?GntR) was constructed. The type IV secretion system (T4SS) virulence factor genes (VirB2, VirB6, and VirB8) were down-expression in ?GntR. ?GntR could infect and proliferate to high titers in GAMs without a significant difference compared with the parental strain. ?GntR infection increased the expression of ER stress marker genes GRP78, ATF6, and PERK in the early stages of its intracellular cycle but decreased the expression of these genes in the late stages. ?GntR increased greatly the number of Brucella CFUs in the inactive ER stress state in GAMs. Meanwhile, ?GntR infection increased the levels of IFN-?, IL-1?, and TNF-?, indicating ?GntR could induce the secretion of inflammatory but not anti-inflammatory cytokines IL-10. Taken together, our results clarified the role of the GntR in B. suis. S2 virulence expression and elucidated that GntR is potentially involved in the signaling pathway of the Brucella-induced UPR and inflammatory response in GAMs.
Project description:As part of a Brucella abortus 2308 genome project carried out in our laboratory, we identified, cloned, and sequenced a genomic DNA fragment containing a locus (virB) highly homologous to bacterial type IV secretion systems. The B. abortus virB locus is a collinear arrangement of 13 open reading frames (ORFs). Between virB1 and virB2 and downstream of ORF12, two degenerated, palindromic repeat sequences characteristic of Brucella intergenic regions were found. Gene reporter studies demonstrated that the B. abortus virB locus constitutes an operon transcribed from virB1 which is turned on during the stationary phase of growth. A B. abortus polar virB1 mutant failed to replicate in HeLa cells, indicating that the virB operon plays a critical role in intracellular multiplication. Mutants with polar and nonpolar mutations introduced in virB10 showed different behaviors in mice and in the HeLa cell infection assay, suggesting that virB10 per se is necessary for the correct function of this type IV secretion apparatus. Mouse infection assays demonstrated that the virB operon constitutes a major determinant of B. abortus virulence. It is suggested that putative effector molecules secreted by this type IV secretion system determine routing of B. abortus to an endoplasmic reticulum-related replication compartment.
Project description:Intracellular bacterial pathogens remodel cellular functions during their infectious cycle via the coordinated actions of effector molecules delivered through dedicated secretion systems. While the function of many individual effectors is known, how they interact to promote pathogenesis is rarely understood. The zoonotic bacterium Brucella abortus, the causative agent of brucellosis, delivers effector proteins via its VirB type IV secretion system (T4SS) which mediate biogenesis of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-derived replicative Brucella-containing vacuole (rBCV). Here, we show that T4SS effectors BspB and RicA display epistatic interactions in Brucella replication. Defects in rBCV biogenesis and Brucella replication caused by deletion of bspB were dependent on the host GTPase Rab2a and suppressed by the deletion of ricA, indicating a role of Rab2-binding effector RicA in these phenotypic defects. Rab2a requirements for rBCV biogenesis and Brucella intracellular replication were abolished upon deletion of both bspB and ricA, demonstrating that the functional interaction of these effectors engages Rab2-dependent transport in the Brucella intracellular cycle. Expression of RicA impaired host secretion and caused Golgi fragmentation. While BspB-mediated changes in ER-to-Golgi transport were independent of RicA and Rab2a, BspB-driven alterations in Golgi vesicular traffic also involved RicA and Rab2a, defining BspB and RicA's functional interplay at the Golgi interface. Altogether, these findings support a model where RicA modulation of Rab2a functions impairs Brucella replication but is compensated by BspB-mediated remodeling of Golgi apparatus-associated vesicular transport, revealing an epistatic interaction between these T4SS effectors.IMPORTANCE Bacterial pathogens with an intracellular lifestyle modulate many host cellular processes to promote their infectious cycle. They do so by delivering effector proteins into host cells via dedicated secretion systems that target specific host functions. While the roles of many individual effectors are known, how their modes of action are coordinated is rarely understood. Here, we show that the zoonotic bacterium Brucella abortus delivers the BspB effector that mitigates the negative effect on bacterial replication that the RicA effector exerts via modulation of the host small GTPase Rab2. These findings provide an example of functional integration between bacterial effectors that promotes proliferation of pathogens.
Project description:Many intracellular pathogens exploit host secretory trafficking to support their intracellular cycle, but knowledge of these pathogenic processes is limited. The bacterium Brucella abortus uses a type IV secretion system (VirB T4SS) to generate a replication-permissive Brucella-containing vacuole (rBCV) derived from the host ER, a process that requires host early secretory trafficking. Here we show that the VirB T4SS effector BspB contributes to rBCV biogenesis and Brucella replication by interacting with the conserved oligomeric Golgi (COG) tethering complex, a major coordinator of Golgi vesicular trafficking, thus remodeling Golgi membrane traffic and redirecting Golgi-derived vesicles to the BCV. Altogether, these findings demonstrate that Brucella modulates COG-dependent trafficking via delivery of a T4SS effector to promote rBCV biogenesis and intracellular proliferation, providing mechanistic insight into how bacterial exploitation of host secretory functions promotes pathogenesis.
Project description:A type IV secretion system similar to the VirB system of the phytopathogen Agrobacterium tumefaciens is essential for the intracellular survival and multiplication of the mammalian pathogen Brucella. Reverse transcriptase-PCR showed that the 12 genes encoding the Brucella suis VirB system form an operon. Semiquantitative measurements of virB mRNA levels by slot blotting showed that transcription of the virB operon, but not the flanking genes, is regulated by environmental factors in vitro. Flow cytometry used to measure green fluorescent protein expression from the virB promoter confirmed the data from slot blots. Fluorescence-activated cell sorter analysis and fluorescence microscopy showed that the virB promoter is induced in macrophages within 3 h after infection. Induction only occurred once the bacteria were inside the cells, and phagosome acidification was shown to be the major signal inducing intracellular expression. Because phagosome acidification is essential for the intracellular multiplication of Brucella, we suggest that it is the signal that triggers the secretion of unknown effector molecules. These effector molecules play a role in the remodeling of the phagosome to create the unique intracellular compartment in which Brucella replicates.
Project description:Brucella abortus, the causative agent of bovine brucellosis, invades and replicates within cells inside a membrane-bound compartment known as the Brucella containing vacuole (BCV). After trafficking along the endocytic and secretory pathways, BCVs mature into endoplasmic reticulum-derived compartments permissive for bacterial replication. Brucella Type IV Secretion System (VirB) is a major virulence factor essential for the biogenesis of the replicative organelle. Upon infection, Brucella uses the VirB system to translocate effector proteins from the BCV into the host cell cytoplasm. Although the functions of many translocated proteins remain unknown, some of them have been demonstrated to modulate host cell signaling pathways to favor intracellular survival and replication. BPE123 (BAB2_0123) is a B. abortus VirB-translocated effector protein recently identified by our group whose function is yet unknown. In an attempt to identify host cell proteins interacting with BPE123, a pull-down assay was performed and human alpha-enolase (ENO-1) was identified by LC/MS-MS as a potential interaction partner of BPE123. These results were confirmed by immunoprecipitation assays. In bone-marrow derived macrophages infected with B. abortus, ENO-1 associates to BCVs in a BPE123-dependent manner, indicating that interaction with translocated BPE123 is also occurring during the intracellular phase of the bacterium. Furthermore, ENO-1 depletion by siRNA impaired B. abortus intracellular replication in HeLa cells, confirming a role for ?-enolase during the infection process. Indeed, ENO-1 activity levels were enhanced upon B. abortus infection of THP-1 macrophagic cells, and this activation is highly dependent on BPE123. Taken together, these results suggest that interaction between BPE123 and host cell ENO-1 contributes to the intracellular lifestyle of B. abortus.
Project description:As bacterial pathogens develop resistance against most currently used antibiotics, novel alternatives for treatment of microbial infectious diseases are urgently needed. Targeting bacterial virulence functions in order to disarm pathogens represents a promising alternative to classical antibiotic therapy. Type IV secretion systems, which are multiprotein complexes in the cell envelope that translocate effectors into host cells, are critical bacterial virulence factors in many pathogens and excellent targets for such "antivirulence" drugs. The VirB8 protein from the mammalian pathogen Brucella was chosen as a specific target, since it is an essential type IV secretion system component, it participates in multiple protein-protein interactions, and it is essential for the assembly of this translocation machinery. The bacterial two-hybrid system was adapted to assay VirB8 interactions, and a high-throughput screen identified specific small-molecule inhibitors. VirB8 interaction inhibitors also reduced the levels of VirB8 and of other VirB proteins, and many of them inhibited virB gene transcription in Brucella abortus 2308, suggesting that targeting of the secretion system has complex regulatory effects in vivo. One compound strongly inhibited the intracellular proliferation of B. abortus 2308 in a J774 macrophage infection model. The results presented here show that in vivo screens with the bacterial two-hybrid assay are suited to the identification of inhibitors of Brucella type IV secretion system function.