Inhibition of type VI secretion by an anti-TssM llama nanobody.
ABSTRACT: The type VI secretion system (T6SS) is a secretion pathway widespread in Gram-negative bacteria that targets toxins in both prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. Although most T6SSs identified so far are involved in inter-bacterial competition, a few are directly required for full virulence of pathogens. The T6SS comprises 13 core proteins that assemble a large complex structurally and functionally similar to a phage contractile tail structure anchored to the cell envelope by a trans-membrane spanning stator. The central part of this stator, TssM, is a 1129-amino-acid protein anchored in the inner membrane that binds to the TssJ outer membrane lipoprotein. In this study, we have raised camelid antibodies against the purified TssM periplasmic domain. We report the crystal structure of two specific nanobodies that bind to TssM in the nanomolar range. Interestingly, the most potent nanobody, nb25, competes with the TssJ lipoprotein for TssM binding in vitro suggesting that TssJ and the nb25 CDR3 loop share the same TssM binding site or causes a steric hindrance preventing TssM-TssJ complex formation. Indeed, periplasmic production of the nanobodies displacing the TssM-TssJ interaction inhibits the T6SS function in vivo. This study illustrates the power of nanobodies to specifically target and inhibit bacterial secretion systems.
Project description:Type VI secretion systems (T6SS) are trans-envelope machines dedicated to the secretion of virulence factors into eukaryotic or prokaryotic cells, therefore required for pathogenesis and/or for competition towards neighboring bacteria. The T6SS apparatus resembles the injection device of bacteriophage T4, and is anchored to the cell envelope through a membrane complex. This membrane complex is composed of the TssL, TssM and TagL inner membrane anchored proteins and of the TssJ outer membrane lipoprotein. Here, we report the crystal structure of the enteroaggregative Escherichia coli Sci1 TssJ lipoprotein, a two four-stranded ?-sheets protein that exhibits a transthyretin fold with an additional ?-helical domain and a protruding loop. We showed that TssJ contacts TssM through this loop since a loop depleted mutant failed to interact with TssM in vitro or in vivo. Biophysical analysis of TssM and TssJ-TssM interaction suggest a structural model of the membrane-anchored outer shell of T6SS. Collectively, our results provide an improved understanding of T6SS assembly and encourage structure-aided drug design of novel antimicrobials targeting T6SS.
Project description:The Type VI secretion system (T6SS) mediates toxin delivery into both eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells. It is composed of a cytoplasmic structure resembling the tail of contractile bacteriophages anchored to the cell envelope through a membrane complex composed of the TssL and TssM inner membrane proteins and of the TssJ outer membrane lipoprotein. The C-terminal domain of TssM is required for its interaction with TssJ, and for the function of the T6SS. In Citrobacter rodentium, the tssM1 gene does not encode the C-terminal domain. However, the stop codon is preceded by a run of 11 consecutive adenosines. In this study, we demonstrate that this poly-A tract is a transcriptional slippery site that induces the incorporation of additional adenosines, leading to frameshifting, and hence the production of two TssM1 variants, including a full-length canonical protein. We show that both forms of TssM1, and the ratio between these two forms, are required for the function of the T6SS in C. rodentium. Finally, we demonstrate that the tssM gene associated with the Yersinia pseudotuberculosis T6SS-3 gene cluster is also subjected to transcriptional frameshifting.
Project description:The type VI secretion system (T6SS) is a machine evolved by Gram-negative bacteria to deliver toxin effectors into target bacterial or eukaryotic cells. The T6SS is functionally and structurally similar to the contractile tail of the Myoviridae family of bacteriophages and can be viewed as a syringe anchored to the bacterial membrane by a transenvelope complex. The membrane complex is composed of three proteins: the TssM and TssL inner membrane components and the TssJ outer membrane lipoprotein. The TssM protein is central as it interacts with both TssL and TssJ, therefore linking the membranes. Using controlled trypsinolysis, a 32.4?kDa C-terminal fragment of enteroaggregative Escherichia coli TssM (TssM32Ct) was purified. A nanobody obtained from llama immunization, nb25, exhibited subnanomolar affinity for TssM32Ct. Crystals of the TssM32Ct-nb25 complex were obtained and diffracted to 1.9?Å resolution. The crystals belonged to space group P64, with unit-cell parameters a = b = 95.23, c = 172.95?Å. Molecular replacement with a model nanobody indicated the presence of a dimer of TssM32Ct-nb25 in the asymmetric unit.
Project description:The type VI secretion system (T6SS) is an anti-bacterial weapon comprising a contractile tail anchored to the cell envelope by a membrane complex. The TssJ, TssL, and TssM proteins assemble a 1.7-MDa channel complex that spans the cell envelope, including the peptidoglycan layer. The electron microscopy structure of the TssJLM complex revealed that it has a diameter of ~18 nm in the periplasm, which is larger than the size of peptidoglycan pores (~2 nm), hence questioning how the T6SS membrane complex crosses the peptidoglycan layer. Here, we report that the MltE housekeeping lytic transglycosylase (LTG) is required for T6SS assembly in enteroaggregative Escherichia coli Protein-protein interaction studies further demonstrated that MltE is recruited to the periplasmic domain of TssM. In addition, we show that TssM significantly stimulates MltE activity in vitro and that MltE is required for the late stages of T6SS membrane complex assembly. Collectively, our data provide the first example of domestication and activation of a LTG encoded within the core genome for the assembly of a secretion system.
Project description:The type VI secretion system (T6SS) with diversified functions is widely distributed in pathogenic Proteobacteria. The IcmF (intracellular multiplication protein F) family protein TssM is a conserved T6SS inner membrane protein. Despite the conservation of its Walker A nucleotide-binding motif, the NTPase activity of TssM and its role in T6SS remain obscure. In this study, we characterized TssM in the plant pathogen Agrobacterium tumefaciens and provided the first biochemical evidence for TssM exhibiting ATPase activity to power the secretion of the T6SS hallmark protein, hemolysin-coregulated protein (Hcp). Amino acid substitutions in the Walker A motif of TssM caused reduced ATP binding and hydrolysis activity. Importantly, we discovered the Walker B motif of TssM and demonstrated that it is critical for ATP hydrolysis activity. Protein-protein interaction studies and protease susceptibility assays indicated that TssM undergoes an ATP binding-induced conformational change and that subsequent ATP hydrolysis is crucial for recruiting Hcp to interact with the periplasmic domain of the TssM-interacting protein TssL (an IcmH/DotU family protein) into a ternary complex and mediating Hcp secretion. Our findings strongly argue that TssM functions as a T6SS energizer to recruit Hcp into the TssM-TssL inner membrane complex prior to Hcp secretion across the outer membrane.
Project description:Bacteria have evolved macromolecular machineries that secrete effectors and toxins to survive and thrive in diverse environments. The type VI secretion system (T6SS) is a contractile machine that is related to Myoviridae phages. It is composed of a phage tail-like structure inserted in the bacterial cell envelope by a membrane complex (MC) comprising the TssJ, TssL and TssM proteins. We previously reported the low-resolution negative-stain electron microscopy structure of the enteroaggregative Escherichia coli MC and proposed a rotational 5-fold symmetry with a TssJ:TssL:TssM stoichiometry of 2:2:2. Here, cryo-electron tomography analyses of the T6SS MC confirm the 5-fold symmetry in situ and identify the regions of the structure that insert into the bacterial membranes. A high-resolution model obtained by single-particle cryo-electron microscopy highlights new features: five additional copies of TssJ, yielding a TssJ:TssL:TssM stoichiometry of 3:2:2, an 11-residue loop in TssM, protruding inside the lumen of the MC and constituting a functionally important periplasmic gate, and hinge regions. Based on these data, we propose an updated model on MC structure and dynamics during T6SS assembly and function.
Project description:The Type VI secretion system (T6SS) is a macromolecular system distributed in Gram-negative bacteria, responsible for the secretion of effector proteins into target cells. The T6SS has a broad versatility as it can target both eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells. It is therefore involved in host pathogenesis or killing neighboring bacterial cells to colonize a new niche. At the architecture level, the T6SS core apparatus is composed of 13 proteins, which assemble in two subcomplexes. One of these subcomplexes, composed of subunits that share structural similarities with bacteriophage tail and baseplate components, is anchored to the cell envelope by the membrane subcomplex. This latter is constituted of at least three proteins, TssL, TssM, and TssJ. The crystal structure of the TssJ outer membrane lipoprotein and its interaction with the inner membrane TssM protein have been recently reported. TssL and TssM share sequence homology and characteristics with two components of the Type IVb secretion system (T4bSS), IcmH/DotU and IcmF, respectively. In this study, we report the crystal structure of the cytoplasmic domain of the TssL inner membrane protein from the enteroaggregative Escherichia coli Sci-1 T6SS. It folds as a hook-like structure composed of two three-helix bundles. Two TssL molecules associate to form a functional complex. Although the TssL trans-membrane segment is the main determinant of self-interaction, contacts between the cytoplasmic domains are required for TssL function. Based on sequence homology and secondary structure prediction, we propose that the TssL structure is the prototype for the members of the TssL and IcmH/DotU families.
Project description:Type VI secretion systems (T6SS) are macromolecular complexes present in Gram-negative bacteria. T6SS are structurally similar to the bacteriophage cell-puncturing device and have been shown to mediate bacteria-host or bacteria-bacteria interactions. T6SS assemble from 13 to 20 proteins. In enteroaggregative Escherichia coli (EAEC), one of the subassemblies is composed of four proteins that form a trans-envelope complex: the TssJ outer membrane lipoprotein, the peptidoglycan-anchored inner membrane TagL protein, and two putative inner membrane proteins, TssL and TssM. In this study, we characterized the TssL protein of the EAEC Sci-1 T6SS in terms of localization, topology, and function. TssL is a critical component of the T6SS, anchored to the inner membrane through a single transmembrane segment located at the extreme C-terminus of the protein. We further show that this transmembrane segment is essential for the function of the protein and its proper insertion in the inner membrane is dependent upon YidC and modulated by the Hsp70 homologue DnaK.
Project description:The type VI secretion system (T6SS) is an injection apparatus that uses a springlike mechanism for effector delivery. The contractile tail is composed of a needle tipped by a sharpened spike and wrapped by the sheath that polymerizes in an extended conformation on the assembly platform, or baseplate. Contraction of the sheath propels the needle and effectors associated with it into target cells. The passage of the needle through the cell envelope of the attacker is ensured by a dedicated trans-envelope channel complex. This membrane complex (MC) comprises the TssJ lipoprotein and the TssL and TssM inner membrane proteins. MC assembly is a hierarchized mechanism in which the different subunits are recruited in a specific order: TssJ, TssM, and then TssL. Once assembled, the MC serves as a docking station for the baseplate. In enteroaggregative Escherichia coli, the MC is accessorized by TagL, a peptidoglycan-binding (PGB) inner membrane-anchored protein. Here, we show that the PGB domain is the only functional domain of TagL and that the N-terminal transmembrane region mediates contact with the TssL transmembrane helix. Finally, we conduct fluorescence microscopy experiments to position TagL in the T6SS biogenesis pathway, demonstrating that TagL is recruited to the membrane complex downstream of TssL and is not required for baseplate docking.IMPORTANCE Bacteria use weapons to deliver effectors into target cells. One of these weapons, called the type VI secretion system (T6SS), could be compared to a nano-spear gun using a springlike mechanism for effector injection. By targeting bacteria and eukaryotic cells, the T6SS reshapes bacterial communities and hijacks host cell defenses. In enteroaggregative Escherichia coli, the T6SS is a multiprotein machine that comprises a cytoplasmic tail and a peptidoglycan-anchored trans-envelope channel. In this work, we show that TagL comprises an N-terminal domain that mediates contact with the channel and a peptidoglycan-binding domain that binds the cell wall. We then determine at which stage of T6SS biogenesis TagL is recruited and how TagL absence impacts the assembly pathway.
Project description:The type VI protein secretion system (T6SS) is a powerful needle-like machinery found in Gram-negative bacteria that can penetrate the cytosol of receiving cells in milliseconds by physical force. Anchored by its membrane-spanning complex (MC) and a baseplate (BP), the T6SS sheath-tube is assembled in a stepwise process primed by TssA and terminated by TagA. However, the molecular details of its assembly remain elusive. Here, we systematically examined the initiation and termination of contractile and non-contractile T6SS sheaths in MC-BP, tssA and tagA mutants by fluorescence microscopy. We observe long pole-to-pole sheath-tube structures in the non-contractile MC-BP defective mutants but not in the Hcp tube or VgrG spike mutants. Combining overexpression and genetic mutation data, we demonstrate complex effects of TssM, TssA and TagA interactions on T6SS sheath-tube dynamics. We also report promiscuous interactions of TagA with multiple T6SS components, similar to TssA. Our results demonstrate that priming of the T6SS sheath-tube assembly is not dependent on TssA, nor is the assembly termination dependent on the distal end TssA-TagA interaction, and highlight the tripartite control of TssA-TssM-TagA on sheath-tube initiation and termination.