The Effector Domain Region of the Vibrio vulnificus MARTX Toxin Confers Biphasic Epithelial Barrier Disruption and Is Essential for Systemic Spread from the Intestine.
ABSTRACT: Vibrio vulnificus causes highly lethal bacterial infections in which the Multifunctional Autoprocessing Repeats-in-Toxins (MARTX) toxin product of the rtxA1 gene is a key virulence factor. MARTX toxins are secreted proteins up to 5208 amino acids in size. Conserved MARTX N- and C-terminal repeat regions work in concert to form pores in eukaryotic cell membranes, through which the toxin's central region of modular effector domains is translocated. Upon inositol hexakisphosphate-induced activation of the of the MARTX cysteine protease domain (CPD) in the eukaryotic cytosol, effector domains are released from the holotoxin by autoproteolytic activity. We previously reported that the native MARTX toxin effector domain repertoire is dispensable for epithelial cellular necrosis in vitro, but essential for cell rounding and apoptosis prior to necrotic cell death. Here we use an intragastric mouse model to demonstrate that the effector domain region is required for bacterial virulence during intragastric infection. The MARTX effector domain region is essential for bacterial dissemination from the intestine, but dissemination occurs in the absence of overt intestinal tissue pathology. We employ an in vitro model of V. vulnificus interaction with polarized colonic epithelial cells to show that the MARTX effector domain region induces rapid intestinal barrier dysfunction and increased paracellular permeability prior to onset of cell lysis. Together, these results negate the inherent assumption that observations of necrosis in vitro directly predict bacterial virulence, and indicate a paradigm shift in our conceptual understanding of MARTX toxin function during intestinal infection. Results implicate the MARTX effector domain region in mediating early bacterial dissemination from the intestine to distal organs-a key step in V. vulnificus foodborne pathogenesis-even before onset of overt intestinal pathology.
Project description:Vibrio vulnificus is an foodborne pathogen that can cause gastroenteritis and septicemia in humans. V. vulnificus secretes a multifunctional autoprocessing repeats-in-toxin (MARTX) toxin as an essential virulence factor to cause disease. MARTX toxins are pore-forming toxins that translocate multiple functionally independent effector domains into a target cell. MARTX toxins of V. vulnificus can contain anywhere from 3 to 5 of the 10 identified effector domains and strains with different effector repertories having varying virulence potential. The goal of this study was to compare how different effector combinations from an F-type MARTX toxin differentially remodel the transcriptional response of human intestinal epithelial cells (IECs). F-type MARTX toxins contain five effector domains – the actin crosslinking domain (ACD), two copies the makes caterpillar floppy-like domain (MCF), and alpha-beta hydrolase (ABH) domain, and the Ras/Rap1 specific endopeptidase (RRSP). Cultured human IECs were treated with V. vulnificus or strains modified to secrete a toxin with only ACD, ACD with MCF-ABH, ACD with RRSP, or no active effectors. We demonstrate that when no active effectors are present, the bacterium induces minimal changes in the transcriptional profile of IECs. However, the strains containing different effector combinations each uniquely remodeled the transcriptional profile of IECs. These data provide insight into how V. vulnificus strains with varying effector combinations can differentially regulate the host cell response to cause disease. Overall design: T84 human colonic epithelial cells were inoculated with 98-783-DP-A1 Vibrio vulnificus containing the wild type F-type MARTX toxin or strains generated to contain MARTX toxins with varying effector combinations. mRNA from inoculated T84 cells was extracted for RNA-sequencing. Each processed file is in .xlsx file type and contain official gene symbol, fold changes compared to PBS treated controls, and p-vaules indicating statistically significant or non-significant changes in gene expression compared to PBS treated controls.
Project description:Vibrio vulnificus is a food-borne bacterial pathogen associated with 1% of all food-related deaths, predominantly because of consumption of contaminated seafood. The ability of V. vulnificus to cause disease is linked to the production of a large cytotoxin called the "multifunctional-autoprocessing RTX" (MARTX(Vv)) toxin, a factor shown here to be an important virulence factor by the intragastric route of infection in mice. In this study, we examined genetic variation of the rtxA1 gene that encodes MARTX(Vv) in 40 V. vulnificus Biotype 1 strains and found four distinct variants of rtxA1 that encode toxins with different arrangements of effector domains. We provide evidence that these variants arose by recombination either with rtxA genes carried on plasmids or with the rtxA gene of Vibrio anguillarum. Contrary to expected results, the most common rtxA1 gene variant in clinical-type V. vulnificus encodes a toxin with reduced potency and is distinct from the toxin produced by strains isolated from market oysters. These results indicate that an important virulence factor of V. vulnificus is undergoing significant genetic rearrangement and may be subject to selection for reduced virulence in the environment. This finding would imply further that in the future on-going genetic variation of the MARTX(Vv) toxins could result in the emergence of novel strains with altered virulence in humans.
Project description:Vibrio vulnificus infects humans and causes lethal septicemia. The primary virulence factor is a multifunctional-autoprocessing repeats-in-toxin (MARTX) toxin consisting of conserved repeats-containing regions and various effector domains. Recent genomic analyses for the newly emerged V. vulnificus biotype 3 strain revealed that its MARTX toxin has two previously unknown effector domains. Herein, we characterized one of these domains, Domain X (DmXVv ). A structure-based homology search revealed that DmXVv belongs to the C58B cysteine peptidase subfamily. When ectopically expressed in cells, DmXVv was autoprocessed and induced cytopathicity including Golgi dispersion. When the catalytic cysteine or the region flanking the scissile bond was mutated, both autoprocessing and cytopathicity were significantly reduced indicating that DmXVv cytopathicity is activated by amino-terminal autoprocessing. Consistent with this, host cell protein export was affected by Vibrio cells producing a toxin with wild-type, but not catalytically inactive, DmXVv . DmXVv was found to localize to Golgi and to directly interact with Golgi-associated ADP-ribosylation factors ARF1, ARF3 and ARF4, although ARF binding was not necessary for the subcellular localization. Rather, this interaction was found to induce autoprocessing of DmXVv . These data demonstrate that the V. vulnificus hijacks the host ARF proteins to activate the cytopathic DmXVv effector domain of MARTX toxin.
Project description:Vibrio vulnificus is an environmental organism that causes both food-borne and wound infections with high morbidity and mortality in humans. The annual incidence and global distribution of infections associated with this pathogen are increasing with climate change. In the late 1990s, an outbreak of tilapia-associated wound infections in Israel was linked to a previously unrecognized variant of V. vulnificus designated biotype 3. The sudden emergence and clonality of the outbreak suggest that this strain may be a true newly emergent pathogen with novel virulence properties compared to those of other V. vulnificus strains. In a subcutaneous infection model to mimic wound infection, the multifunctional autoprocessing RTX (MARTX) toxin of biotype 3 strains was shown to be an essential virulence factor contributing to highly inflammatory skin wounds with severe damage affecting every tissue layer. We conducted a sequencing-based analysis of the MARTX toxin and found that biotype 3 MARTX toxin has an effector domain structure distinct from that of either biotype 1 or biotype 2. Of the two new domains identified, a domain similar to Pseudomonas aeruginosa ExoY was shown to confer adenylate cyclase activity on the MARTX toxin. This is the first demonstration that the biotype 3 MARTX toxin is essential for virulence and that the ExoY-like MARTX effector domain is a catalytically active adenylate cyclase.
Project description:Vibrio cholerae is the causative agent of the diarrheal disease cholera. Many virulence factors contribute to intestinal colonization and disease including the Multifunctional Autoprocessing RTX toxin (MARTX(Vc)). The Rho-inactivation domain (RID) of MARTX(Vc) is responsible for inactivating the Rho-family of small GTPases, which leads to depolymerization of the actin cytoskeleton. Based on a deletion analysis of RID to determine the minimal functional domain, we have identified a subdomain at the N terminus of RID that is homologous to the membrane targeting C1 domain of Pasteurella multocida toxin. A GFP fusion to this subdomain from RID colocalized with a plasma membrane marker when transiently expressed within HeLa cells and can be found in the membrane fraction following subcellular fractionation. This C1-like subdomain is present in multiple families of bacterial toxins, including all of the clostridial glucosyltransferase toxins and various MARTX toxins. GFP-fusions to these homologous domains are also membrane associated, indicating that this is a conserved membrane localization domain (MLD). We have identified three residues (Y23, S68, R70) as necessary for proper localization of one but not all MLDs. In addition, we found that substitution of the RID MLD with the MLDs from two different effector domains from the Vibrio vulnificus MARTX toxin restored RID activity, indicating that there is functional overlap between these MLDs. This study describes the initial recognition of a family of conserved plasma membrane-targeting domains found in multiple large bacterial toxins.
Project description:The multifunctional-autoprocessing repeats-in-toxin (MARTX) toxins are bacterial protein toxins that serve as delivery platforms for cytotoxic effector domains. The domain of unknown function in position 5 (DUF5) effector domain is present in at least six different species' MARTX toxins and as a hypothetical protein in Photorhabdus spp. Its presence increases the potency of the Vibrio vulnificus MARTX toxin in mouse virulence studies, indicating DUF5 directly contributes to pathogenesis. In this work, DUF5 is shown to be cytotoxic when transiently expressed in HeLa cells. DUF5 localized to the plasma membrane dependent upon its C1 domain and the cells become rounded dependent upon its C2 domain. Both full-length DUF5 and the C2 domain caused growth inhibition when expressed in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. A structural model of DUF5 was generated based on the structure of Pasteurella multocida toxin facilitating localization of the cytotoxic activity to a 186 amino acid subdomain termed C2A. Within this subdomain, an alanine scanning mutagenesis revealed aspartate-3721 and arginine-3841 as residues critical for cytotoxicity. These residues were also essential for HeLa cell intoxication when purified DUF5 fused to anthrax toxin lethal factor was delivered cytosolically. Thermal shift experiments indicated that these conserved residues are important to maintain protein structure, rather than for catalysis. The Aeromonas hydrophila MARTX toxin DUF5(Ah) domain was also cytotoxic, while the weakly conserved C1-C2 domains from P. multocida toxin were not. Overall, this study is the first demonstration that DUF5 as found in MARTX toxins has cytotoxic activity that depends on conserved residues in the C2A subdomain.
Project description:Vibrio vulnificus is a pathogen that causes both severe necrotizing wound infections and life-threatening food-borne infections. Food-borne infection is particularly lethal as the infection can progress rapidly to primary septicemia resulting in death from septic shock and multiorgan failure. In this study, we use both bioluminescence whole animal imaging and V. vulnificus bacterial colonization of orally infected mice to demonstrate that the secreted multifunctional-autoprocessing RTX toxin (MARTX(Vv)) and the cytolysin/hemolysin VvhA of clinical isolate CMCP6 have an important function in the gut to promote early in vivo growth and dissemination of this pathogen from the small intestine to other organs. Using histopathology, we find that both cytotoxins can cause villi disruption, epithelial necrosis, and inflammation in the mouse small intestine. A double mutant deleted of genes for both cytotoxins was essentially avirulent, did not cause intestinal epithelial tissue damage, and was cleared from infected mice by 36 hours by an effective immune response. Therefore, MARTX(Vv) and VvhA seem to play an additive role for pathogenesis of CMCP6 causing intestinal tissue damage and inflammation that then promotes dissemination of the infecting bacteria to the bloodstream and other organs. In the absence of these two secreted factors, we propose that this bacterium is unable to cause intestinal infection in humans.
Project description:MARTX toxins are large single polypeptide bacterial toxins that translocate multiple cytotoxic and functionally independent effector domains into the cytosol of a target eukaryotic cell. Pandemic Vibrio cholerae El Tor O1 strains secrete a MARTX toxin with three effector domains — the actin crosslinking domain (ACD), the Rho inactivation domain (RID), and the alpha/beta-hydrolase domain (ABH) — to regulate innate immunity and enhance colonization. The goal of this study was to compare changes in the transcriptome of human intestinal epithelial cells (IECs) treated with V. cholerae modified to secret a toxin with only one effector domain to the transcriptome of cells treated with V. cholerae secreting the wild type MARTX toxin that delivers all three effector domains simultaneously. We demonstrate that when all three effectors are delivered there is no change in transcriptional response of IECs compared to untreated cells. However, when only ACD is delivered, transcriptional profiling revealed a significant proinflammatory response is activated. These data suggests that V. cholerae may utilize co-delivery of RID and/or ABH to silence the intestinal immune response to ACD activity. These data provide insight into how the V. cholerae MARTX toxin effector domains function together to alter the innate immune response of IECs during bacterial infection. Overall design: mRNA expression profile of T84 human colonic epithielial cells inoculated with N16961ΔhlyAΔhapA V. cholerae containing the wild type MARTX toxin or strains generated to contain MARTX toxins with only a single effector domain. Each processed file is in .xlsx file type and contain offical gene symbol and description for each gene, read counts for each replicate, fold changes compared to PBS treated controls, and p-values indicating statistically significant or non-significant changes in gene expression compared to PBS treated controls.
Project description:Multifunctional autoprocessing repeats-in-toxin (MARTX) toxins are pore-forming bacterial toxins that translocate multiple functionally independent effector domains into a target eukaryotic cell. Vibrio cholerae colonizes intestinal epithelial cells (IECs) and uses a MARTX toxin with three effector domains-an actin cross-linking domain (ACD), a Rho inactivation domain (RID), and an ?/? hydrolase domain (ABH)-to suppress innate immunity and enhance colonization. We investigated whether these multiple catalytic enzymes delivered from a single toxin functioned in a coordinated manner to suppress intestinal innate immunity. Using cultured human IECs, we demonstrated that ACD-induced cytoskeletal collapse activated extracellular signal-regulated kinase, p38, and c-Jun amino-terminal kinase mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling to elicit a robust proinflammatory response characterized by the secretion of interleukin-8 (IL-8; also called CXCL8) and the expression of CXCL8, tumor necrosis factor (TNF), and other proinflammatory genes. However, RID and ABH, which are naturally delivered together with ACD, blocked MAPK activation through Rac1 and thus prevented ACD-induced inflammation. RID also abolished IL-8 secretion induced by heat-killed bacteria, TNF, or latrunculin A. Thus, MARTX toxins use enzymatic multifunctionality to silence the host response to bacterial factors and to the damage caused by the toxins. Furthermore, these data show how V. cholerae MARTX toxin suppresses intestinal inflammation and contributes to cholera being classically defined as a noninflammatory diarrheal disease.
Project description:Vibrio vulnificus is an environmental organism that causes septic human infections characterized by high morbidity and mortality. The annual incidence and global distribution of this pathogen are increasing as ocean waters warm. Clinical strains exhibit variations in the primary virulence toxin, suggesting a potential for the emergence of new strains with altered virulence properties. A clonal outbreak of tilapia-associated wound infections in Israel serves as a natural experiment for the sudden emergence of a new V. vulnificus strain. The effector domain content of the multifunctional autoprocessing RTX (MARTX) toxin of the outbreak-associated biotype 3 (BT3) strains was previously shown to harbor a modification generated by recombination. The modification introduced an actin-induced adenylate cyclase effector domain (ExoY) and an effector domain that disrupts the Golgi organelle (DmX). Here, we report that the exchange of these effector domains for a putative progenitor biotype 1 toxin arrangement produces a toxin that slows the lysis kinetics of targeted epithelial cells but increases cellular rounding phenotypes in response to bacteria. In addition, replacing the biotype 3 toxin variant with the putative progenitor biotype 1 variant renders the resulting strain significantly more virulent in mice. This suggests that the exchange of MARTX effector domains during the emergence of BT3 generated a toxin with reduced toxin potency, resulting in decreased virulence of this outbreak-associated strain. We posit that selection for reduced virulence may serve as a route for this lethal infectious agent to enter the human food chain by allowing it to persist in natural hosts. IMPORTANCEVibrio vulnificus is a serious infection linked to climate change. The virulence capacity of these bacteria can vary by gene exchange, resulting in new variants of the primary virulence toxin. In this study, we tested whether the emergence of an epidemic strain of V. vulnificus with a novel toxin variant correlated with a change in virulence. We found that restoring the biotype 3 toxin variant to the putative progenitor-type toxin resulted in dramatically increased virulence, revealing that the emergence of the biotype 3 strain could be linked to virulence reduction. This reduced virulence, previously found also in the biotype 1 strain, suggests that reduced virulence may stimulate outbreaks, as strains have greater capacity to enter the human food chain through reduced impact to environmental hosts.