Vibrio vulnificus MARTX toxin effector domains differentially remodel the transcriptional response of intestinal epithelial cells
ABSTRACT: 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: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 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:The Vibrio cholerae?MARTXVc toxin delivers three effector domains to eukaryotic cells. To study toxin delivery and function of individual domains, the rtxA gene was modified to encode toxin with an in-frame beta-lactamase (Bla) fusion. The hybrid RtxA::Bla toxin was Type I secreted from bacteria; and then Bla was translocated into eukaryotic cells and delivered by autoprocessing, demonstrating that the MARTXVc toxin is capable of heterologous protein transfer. Strains that produce hybrid RtxA::Bla toxins that carry one effector domain in addition to Bla were found to more efficiently translocate Bla. In cell biological assays, the actin cross-linking domain (ACD) and Rho-inactivation domain (RID) are found to cross-link actin and inactivate RhoA, respectively, when other effector domains are absent, with toxin autoprocessing required for high efficiency. The previously unstudied alpha-beta hydrolase domain (ABH) is shown here to activate CDC42, although the effect is ameliorated when RID is also present. Despite all effector domains acting on cytoskeleton assembly, the ACD was sufficient to rapidly inhibit macrophage phagocytosis. Both the ACD and RID independently disrupted polarized epithelial tight junction integrity. The sufficiency of ACD but strong selection for retention of RID and ABH suggests these two domains may primarily function by modulating cell signaling.
Project description:The actin cross-linking domain (ACD) is an actin-specific toxin produced by several pathogens, including life-threatening spp. of Vibrio cholerae, Vibrio vulnificus, and Aeromonas hydrophila. Actin cross-linking by ACD is thought to lead to slow cytoskeleton failure owing to a gradual sequestration of actin in the form of nonfunctional oligomers. Here, we found that ACD converted cytoplasmic actin into highly toxic oligomers that potently "poisoned" the ability of major actin assembly proteins, formins, to sustain actin polymerization. Thus, ACD can target the most abundant cellular protein by using actin oligomers as secondary toxins to efficiently subvert cellular functions of actin while functioning at very low doses.
Project description:The objective of this study was to analyze multifunctional autoprocessing repeats-in-toxin (MARTX) toxin domain organization within the aquatic species Vibrio vulnificus as well as to study the evolution of the rtxA1 gene. The species is subdivided into three biotypes that differ in host range and geographical distribution. We have found three different types (I, II, and III) of V. vulnificus MARTX (MARTX(Vv)) toxins with common domains (an autocatalytic cysteine protease domain [CPD], an ?/?-hydrolase domain, and a domain resembling that of the LifA protein of Escherichia coli O127:H6 E2348/69 [Efa/LifA]) and specific domains (a Rho-GTPase inactivation domain [RID], a domain of unknown function [DUF], a domain resembling that of the rtxA protein of Photorhabdus asymbiotica [rtxA(PA)], and an actin cross-linking domain [ACD]). Biotype 1 isolates harbor MARTX(Vv) toxin types I and II, biotype 2 isolates carry MARTX(Vv) toxin type III, and biotype 3 isolates have MARTX(Vv) toxin type II. The analyzed biotype 2 isolates harbor two identical copies of rtxA1, one chromosomal and the other plasmidic. The evolutionary history of the gene demonstrates that MARTX(Vv) toxins are mosaics, comprising pieces with different evolutionary histories, some of which have been acquired by intra- or interspecific horizontal gene transfer. Finally, we have found evidence that the evolutionary history of the rtxA1 gene for biotype 2 differs totally from the gene history of biotypes 1 and 3.
Project description: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 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.
Project description:Actin cross-linking domains (ACDs) are distinct domains found in several bacterial toxins, including the Vibrio cholerae MARTX toxin. The ACD of V. cholerae (ACD(Vc)) catalyses the formation of an irreversible iso-peptide bond between lysine 50 and glutamic acid 270 on two actin molecules in an ATP- and Mg/Mn(2+)-dependent manner. In vivo, cross-linking depletes the cellular pool of G-actin leading to actin cytoskeleton depolymerization. While the actin cross-linking reaction performed by these effector domains has been significantly characterized, the ACD(Vc) catalytic site has remained elusive due to lack of significant homology to known proteins. Using multiple genetic approaches, we have identified regions and amino acids of ACD(Vc) required for full actin cross-linking activity. Then, using these functional data and structural homology predictions, it was determined that several residues demonstrated to be important for ACD(Vc) activity are conserved with active-site residues of the glutamine synthetase family of enzymes. Thus, the ACDs are a family of bacterial toxin effectors that may be evolutionarily related to ligases involved in amino acid biosynthesis.
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.