Francisella requires dynamic type VI secretion system and ClpB to deliver effectors for phagosomal escape.
ABSTRACT: Francisella tularensis is an intracellular pathogen that causes the fatal zoonotic disease tularaemia. Critical for its pathogenesis is the ability of the phagocytosed bacteria to escape into the cell cytosol. For this, the bacteria use a non-canonical type VI secretion system (T6SS) encoded on the Francisella pathogenicity island (FPI). Here we show that in F. novicida T6SS assembly initiates at the bacterial poles both in vitro and within infected macrophages. T6SS dynamics and function depends on the general purpose ClpB unfoldase, which specifically colocalizes with contracted sheaths and is required for their disassembly. T6SS assembly depends on iglF, iglG, iglI and iglJ, whereas pdpC, pdpD, pdpE and anmK are dispensable. Importantly, strains lacking pdpC and pdpD are unable to escape from phagosome, activate AIM2 inflammasome or cause disease in mice. This suggests that PdpC and PdpD are T6SS effectors involved in phagosome rupture.
Project description:The Gram-negative bacterium Francisella tularensis is the causative agent of tularemia, a disease intimately associated with the multiplication of the bacterium within host macrophages. This in turn requires the expression of Francisella pathogenicity island (FPI) genes, believed to encode a type VI secretion system. While the exact functions of many of the components have yet to be revealed, some have been found to contribute to the ability of Francisella to cause systemic infection in mice as well as to prevent phagolysosomal fusion and facilitate escape into the host cytosol. Upon reaching this compartment, the bacterium rapidly multiplies, inhibits activation of the inflammasome, and ultimately causes apoptosis of the host cell. In this study, we analyzed the contribution of the FPI-encoded proteins IglG, IglI, and PdpE to the aforementioned processes in F. tularensis LVS. The ?pdpE mutant behaved similarly to the parental strain in all investigated assays. In contrast, ?iglG and ?iglI mutants, although they were efficiently replicating in J774A.1 cells, both exhibited delayed phagosomal escape, conferred a delayed activation of the inflammasome, and exhibited reduced cytopathogenicity as well as marked attenuation in the mouse model. Thus, IglG and IglI play key roles for modulation of the intracellular host response and also for the virulence of F. tularensis.
Project description:Gram-negative bacteria have evolved sophisticated secretion machineries specialized for the secretion of macromolecules important for their life cycles. The Type VI secretion system (T6SS) is the most widely spread bacterial secretion machinery and is encoded by large, variable gene clusters, often found to be essential for virulence. The latter is true for the atypical T6SS encoded by the Francisella pathogenicity island (FPI) of the highly pathogenic, intracellular bacterium Francisella tularensis. We here undertook a comprehensive analysis of the intramacrophage secretion of the 17 FPI proteins of the live vaccine strain, LVS, of F. tularensis. All were expressed as fusions to the TEM ?-lactamase and cleavage of the fluorescent substrate CCF2-AM, a direct consequence of the delivery of the proteins into the macrophage cytosol, was followed over time. The FPI proteins IglE, IglC, VgrG, IglI, PdpE, PdpA, IglJ and IglF were all secreted, which was dependent on the core components DotU, VgrG, and IglC, as well as IglG. In contrast, the method was not directly applicable on F. novicida U112, since it showed very intense native ?-lactamase secretion due to FTN_1072. Its role was proven by ectopic expression in trans in LVS. We did not observe secretion of any of the LVS substrates VgrG, IglJ, IglF or IglI, when tested in a FTN_1072 deficient strain of F. novicida, whereas IglE, IglC, PdpA and even more so PdpE were all secreted. This suggests that there may be fundamental differences in the T6S mechanism among the Francisella subspecies. The findings further corroborate the unusual nature of the T6SS of F. tularensis since almost all of the identified substrates are unique to the species.
Project description:Modulation of host cell death pathways appears to be a prerequisite for the successful lifestyles of many intracellular pathogens. The facultative intracellular bacterium Francisella tularensis is highly pathogenic, and effective proliferation in the macrophage cytosol leading to host cell death is a requirement for its virulence. To better understand the prerequisites of this cell death, macrophages were infected with the F. tularensis live vaccine strain (LVS), and the effects were compared to those resulting from infections with deletion mutants lacking expression of either of the pdpC, iglC, iglG, or iglI genes, which encode components of the Francisella pathogenicity island (FPI), a type VI secretion system. Within 12 h, a majority of the J774 cells infected with the LVS strain showed production of mitochondrial superoxide and, after 24 h, marked signs of mitochondrial damage, caspase-9 and caspase-3 activation, phosphatidylserine expression, nucleosome formation, and membrane leakage. In contrast, neither of these events occurred after infection with the ?iglI or ?iglC mutants, although the former strain replicated. The ?iglG mutant replicated effectively but induced only marginal cytopathogenic effects after 24 h and intermediate effects after 48 h. In contrast, the ?pdpC mutant showed no replication but induced marked mitochondrial superoxide production and mitochondrial damage, caspase-3 activation, nucleosome formation, and phosphatidylserine expression, although the effects were delayed compared to those obtained with LVS. The unique phenotypes of the mutants provide insights regarding the roles of individual FPI components for the modulation of the cytopathogenic effects resulting from the F. tularensis infection.
Project description:Certain intracellular bacteria use the host cell cytosol as the replicative niche. Although it has been hypothesized that the successful exploitation of this compartment requires a unique metabolic adaptation, supportive evidence is lacking. For Francisella tularensis, many genes of the Francisella pathogenicity island (FPI) are essential for intracellular growth, and therefore, FPI mutants are useful tools for understanding the prerequisites of intracytosolic replication. We compared the growth of bacteria taken up by phagocytic or nonphagocytic cells with that of bacteria microinjected directly into the host cytosol, using the live vaccine strain (LVS) of F. tularensis; five selected FPI mutants thereof, i.e., ?iglA, ?iglÇ ?iglG, ?iglI, and ?pdpE strains; and Listeria monocytogenes. After uptake in bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMDM), ASC(-/-) BMDM, MyD88(-/-) BMDM, J774 cells, or HeLa cells, LVS, ?pdpE and ?iglG mutants, and L. monocytogenes replicated efficiently in all five cell types, whereas the ?iglA and ?iglC mutants showed no replication. After microinjection, all 7 strains showed effective replication in J774 macrophages, ASC(-/-) BMDM, and HeLa cells. In contrast to the rapid replication in other cell types, L. monocytogenes showed no replication in MyD88(-/-) BMDM and LVS showed no replication in either BMDM or MyD88(-/-) BMDM after microinjection. Our data suggest that the mechanisms of bacterial uptake as well as the permissiveness of the cytosolic compartment per se are important factors for the intracytosolic replication. Notably, none of the investigated FPI proteins was found to be essential for intracytosolic replication after microinjection.
Project description:Francisella tularensis is a highly infectious, facultative intracellular bacterial pathogen that is the causative agent of tularemia. Nearly a century ago, researchers observed that tularemia was often fatal in North America but almost never fatal in Europe and Asia. The chromosomes of F. tularensis strains carry two identical copies of the Francisella pathogenicity island (FPI), and the FPIs of North America-specific biotypes contain two genes, anmK and pdpD, that are not found in biotypes that are distributed over the entire Northern Hemisphere. In this work, we studied the contribution of anmK and pdpD to virulence by using F. novicida, which is very closely related to F. tularensis but which carries only one copy of the FPI. We showed that anmK and pdpD are necessary for full virulence but not for intracellular growth. This is in sharp contrast to most other FPI genes that have been studied to date, which are required for intracellular growth. We also showed that PdpD is localized to the outer membrane. Further, overexpression of PdpD affects the cellular distribution of FPI-encoded proteins IglA, IglB, and IglC. Finally, deletions of FPI genes encoding proteins that are homologues of known components of type VI secretion systems abolished the altered distribution of IglC and the outer membrane localization of PdpD.
Project description:The virulence of Francisella tularensis, the etiological agent of tularemia, relies on an atypical type VI secretion system (T6SS) encoded by a genomic island termed the Francisella Pathogenicity Island (FPI). While the importance of the FPI in F. tularensis virulence is clearly established, the precise role of most of the FPI-encoded proteins remains to be deciphered. In this study, using highly virulent F. tularensis strains and the closely related species F. novicida, IglG was characterized as a protein featuring a unique ?-helical N-terminal extension and a domain of unknown function (DUF4280), present in more than 250 bacterial species. Three dimensional modeling of IglG and of the DUF4280 consensus protein sequence indicates that these proteins adopt a PAAR-like fold, suggesting they could cap the T6SS in a similar way as the recently described PAAR proteins. The newly identified PAAR-like motif is characterized by four conserved cysteine residues, also present in IglG, which may bind a metal atom. We demonstrate that IglG binds metal ions and that each individual cysteine is required for T6SS-dependent secretion of IglG and of the Hcp homologue, IglC and for the F. novicida intracellular life cycle. In contrast, the Francisella-specific N-terminal ?-helical extension is not required for IglG secretion, but is critical for F. novicida virulence and for the interaction of IglG with another FPI-encoded protein, IglF. Altogether, our data suggest that IglG is a PAAR-like protein acting as a bi-modal protein that may connect the tip of the Francisella T6SS with a putative T6SS effector, IglF.
Project description:Type VI secretion systems (T6SS) are bacterial molecular machines translocating effector proteins into target cells. T6SS are widely present in Gram-negative bacteria where they predominantly act to kill neighboring bacteria. This secretion system is reminiscent of the tail of contractile bacteriophages and consists of a contractile sheath anchored in the bacterial envelope and an inner tube made of stacks of the Hcp protein. The Hcp tube is capped with a VgrG trimer and a spike protein termed PAAR, which acts as the membrane-puncturing device. Francisella tularensis, the agent of tularemia, is an intracellular bacterium replicating within the host cytosol. Upon entry into the host cell, F. tularensis rapidly lyses the host vacuolar membrane to reach the host cytosol. This escape is dependent on the Francisella Pathogenicity Island (FPI), which is encoding an atypical T6SS. Among the 17 proteins encoded by the FPI, most of them required for virulence, eight have some homology to canonical T6SS proteins. We recently identified the function of one protein of unknown function encoded within the FPI, IglG. By three-dimensional modelling and following validation by different techniques, we found that IglG adopts a fold resembling the one of PAAR proteins. Importantly, IglG features a domain of unknown function DUF4280, present in numerous bacterial species. We thus propose to rename this domain of unknown function, PAAR-like domain, and discuss here the characteristics of this domain and its distribution in both Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria.
Project description:Francisella tularensis is a highly infectious bacterial pathogen that invades and replicates within numerous host cell types. After uptake, F. tularensis bacteria escape the phagosome, replicate within the cytosol, and suppress cytokine responses. However, the mechanisms employed by F. tularensis to thrive within host cells are mostly unknown. Potential F. tularensis mutants involved in host-pathogen interactions are typically discovered by negative selection screens for intracellular replication or virulence. Mutants that fulfill these criteria fall into two categories: mutants with intrinsic intracellular growth defects and mutants that fail to modify detrimental host cell processes. It is often difficult and time consuming to discriminate between these two possibilities. We devised a method to functionally trans-complement and thus identify mutants that fail to modify the host response. In this assay, host cells are consistently and reproducibly infected with two different F. tularensis strains by physically tethering the bacteria to antibody-coated beads. To examine the efficacy of this protocol, we tested phagosomal escape, cytokine suppression, and intracellular replication for F. tularensis ?ripA and ?pdpC. ?ripA has an intracellular growth defect that is likely due to an intrinsic defect and fails to suppress IL-1? secretion. In the co-infection model, ?ripA was unable to replicate in the host cell when wild-type bacteria infected the same cell, but cytokine suppression was rescued. Therefore, ?ripA intracellular growth is due to an intrinsic bacterial defect while cytokine secretion results from a failed host-pathogen interaction. Likewise, ?pdpC is deficient for phagosomal escape, intracellular survival and suppression of IL-1? secretion. Wild-type bacteria that entered through the same phagosome as ?pdpC rescued all of these phenotypes, indicating that ?pdpC failed to properly manipulate the host. In summary, functional trans-complementation using bead-bound bacteria co-infections is a method to rapidly identify mutants that fail to modify a host response. Francisella tularensis is a facultative intracellular bacterial pathogen and is the causative agent of the disease tularemia. F. tularensis enters host cells through phagocytosis, escapes the phagosome, and replicates in the host cell cytosol while suppressing cytokine secretion -. Although substantial progress has been made in understanding the intracellular life cycle of F. tularensis, the F. tularensis proteins responsible for manipulating many host cell pathways are unknown. Identifying novel host-pathogen effector proteins is difficult because there is no rapid method to reliably distinguish between bacterial proteins that modify host processes and proteins that are involved in bacterial processes that are required for the bacteria to survive or replicate in the intracellular environment. The ability to identify mutants that are deficient for host-pathogen interactions is important because it can aid in prioritizing the investigation of genes of interest and in downstream experimental design. Moreover, certain mutant phenotypes, such as decreased phagosomal escape, hinder investigation of other potential phenotypes. A method to specifically complement these phenotypes would allow for further characterizations of certain F. tularensis mutants. Thus we sought to develop a method to easily identify and functionally complement mutants that are deficient for interactions with the host.
Project description:Type VI secretion systems (T6SSs) are newly identified contractile nanomachines that translocate effector proteins across bacterial membranes. The Francisella pathogenicity island, required for bacterial phagosome escape, intracellular replication, and virulence, was presumed to encode a T6SS-like apparatus. Here, we experimentally confirm the identity of this T6SS and, by cryo electron microscopy (cryoEM), show the structure of its post-contraction sheath at 3.7 Å resolution. We demonstrate the assembly of this T6SS by IglA/IglB and secretion of its putative effector proteins in response to environmental stimuli. The sheath has a quaternary structure with handedness opposite that of contracted sheath of T4 phage tail and is organized in an interlaced two-dimensional array by means of ? sheet augmentation. By structure-based mutagenesis, we show that this interlacing is essential to secretion, phagosomal escape, and intracellular replication. Our atomic model of the T6SS will facilitate design of drugs targeting this highly prevalent secretion apparatus.
Project description:Francisella tularensisis subsp. tularensis is an intracellular bacterial pathogen and the causative agent of the life-threatening zoonotic disease tularemia. The Francisella Pathogenicity Island encodes a large secretion apparatus, known as a Type VI Secretion System (T6SS), which is essential for Francisella to escape from its phagosome and multiply within host macrophages and to cause disease in animals. The T6SS, found in one-quarter of Gram-negative bacteria including many highly pathogenic ones, is a recently discovered secretion system that is not yet fully understood. Nevertheless, there have been remarkable advances in our understanding of the structure, composition, and function of T6SSs of several bacteria in the past few years. The system operates like an inside-out headless contractile phage that is anchored to the bacterial membrane via a baseplate and membrane complex. The system injects effector molecules across the inner and outer bacterial membrane and into host prokaryotic or eukaryotic targets to kill, intoxicate, or in the case of Francisella, hijack the target cell. Recent advances include an atomic model of the contractile sheath, insights into the mechanics of sheath contraction, the composition of the baseplate and membrane complex, the process of assembly of the apparatus, and identification of numerous effector molecules and activities. While Francisella T6SS appears to be an outlier among T6SSs, with limited or no sequence homology with other systems, its structure and organization are strikingly similar to other systems. Nevertheless, we have only scratched the surface in uncovering the mysteries of the Francisella T6SS, and there are numerous questions that remain to be answered.