[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The type VI secretion system (T6SS) is a widespread machine used by bacteria to control their environment and kill or disable bacterial species or eukaryotes through toxin injection. The T6SS comprises a central tube formed of stacked hexamers of hemolysin co-regulated proteins (Hcp) and terminated by a trimeric valine-glycine repeat protein G (VgrG) component, the cell puncturing device. A contractile tail sheath, formed by the TssB and TssC proteins, surrounds this tube. This syringe-like machine has been compared to an inverted phage, as both Hcp and VgrG share structural homology with tail components of Caudovirales. Here we solved the crystal structure of a tryptophan-substituted double mutant of Hcp1 from enteroaggregative Escherichia coli and compared it to the structures of other Hcps. Interestingly, we observed that the purified Hcp native protein is unable to form tubes in vitro. To better understand the rationale for observation, we measured the affinity of Hcp1 hexamers with themselves by surface plasmon resonance. The intra-hexamer interaction is weak, with a KD value of 7.2 µM. However, by engineering double cysteine mutants at defined positions, tubes of Hcp1 gathering up to 15 stacked hexamers formed in oxidative conditions. These results, together with those available in the literature regarding TssB and TssC, suggest that assembly of the T6SS tube differs significantly from that of Sipho- or Myoviridae.
PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(2):e86918. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Type VI secretion system (T6SS) is a macromolecular machine that mediates bacteria-host or bacteria-bacteria interactions. The T6SS core apparatus assembles from 13 proteins that form two sub-assemblies: a phage-like complex and a trans-envelope complex. The Hcp, VgrG, TssE and TssB/C subunits are structurally and functionally related to components of the tail of contractile bacteriophages. This phage-like structure is thought to be anchored to the membrane by a trans-envelope complex composed of the TssJ, TssL and TssM proteins. However, how the two sub-complexes are connected remains unknown. Here we identify TssK, a protein that establishes contacts with the two T6SS sub-complexes through direct interactions with TssL, Hcp and TssC. TssK is a cytoplasmic protein assembling trimers that display a three-armed shape, as revealed by TEM and SAXS analysis. Fluorescence microscopy experiments further demonstrate the requirement of TssK for sheath assembly. Our results suggest a central role for TssK by linking both complexes during T6SS assembly.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 08/2013; · 4.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Type VI secretion system (T6SS) is a macromolecular complex widespread in Gram-negative bacteria. Although several T6SS are required for virulence towards host models, most are necessary to eliminate competitor bacteria. Other functions, such as resistance to amoeba predation, biofilm formation or adaptation to environmental conditions have also been reported. This multitude of functions is reflected by the large repertoire of regulatory mechanisms shown to control T6SS expression, production or activation. Here, we demonstrate that one T6SS gene cluster encoded within the Yersinia pseudotuberculosis genome, T6SS-4, is regulated by OmpR, the response regulator of the two-component system EnvZ-OmpR. We first identified OmpR in a transposon mutagenesis screen. OmpR does not control the expression of the four other Y. pseudotuberculosis T6SS gene clusters and of an isolated vgrG gene, and responds to osmotic stresses to bind to and activate the T6SS-4 promoter. Finally, we show that T6SS-4 promotes Y. pseudotuberculosis survival in high osmolarity conditions and resistance to deoxycholate.
PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(6):e66615. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Vibrio cholerae is the cause of the diarrheal disease cholera. V. cholerae produces RtxA, a large toxin of the MARTX family, which is targeted to the host cell cytosol where its actin cross-linking domain (ACD) cross-links G-actin, leading to F-actin depolymerisation, cytoskeleton rearrangements and cell rounding. These effects on the cytoskeleton prevent phagocytosis and bacterial engulfment by macrophages, thus preventing V.cholerae clearance from the gut. The V. cholerae Type VI secretion-associated VgrG1 protein contains also a C-terminal ACD which shares 61% identity with MARTX ACD and has been shown to covalently cross-link G-actin. Here, we purified the VgrG1 C-terminal domain and determined its crystal structure. The VgrG1 ACD exhibits a V-shaped three-dimensional structure, formed of 12 β-strands and 9 α-helices. Its active site comprises five residues that are conserved in MARTX ACD toxin, within a conserved area of ~10 A radius. We showed that less than 100 ACD molecules are sufficient to depolymerize the actin filaments of a fibroblast cell in vivo. Mutagenesis studies confirmed that Glu-16 is critical for the F-actin depolymerization function. Co-crystals with divalent cations and ATP reveal the molecular mechanism of the MARTX/VgrG toxins and offer perspectives for their possible inhibition.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 08/2012; · 4.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: 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.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 02/2012; 287(17):14157-68. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: 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 β-sheets protein that exhibits a transthyretin fold with an additional α-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.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In Gram-negative bacteria, type II secretion systems assemble a piston-like structure, called pseudopilus, which expels exoproteins
out of the cell. The pseudopilus is constituted by a major pseudopilin that when overproduced multimerizes into a long cell
surface structure named hyper-pseudopilus. Pseudomonas aeruginosa possesses two type II secretion systems, Xcp and Hxc. Although major pseudopilins are exchangeable among type II secretion
systems, we show that XcpT and HxcT are not. We demonstrate that HxcT does not form a hyper-pseudopilus and is different in
amino acid sequence and multimerization properties. Using structure-based mutagenesis, we observe that five mutations are
sufficient to revert HxcT into a functional XcpT-like protein, which also becomes capable of forming a hyper-pseudopilus.
Phylogenetic and experimental analysis showed that the whole Hxc system was acquired by P. aeruginosa PAO1 and other Pseudomonas species through horizontal gene transfer. We thus identified a new type II secretion subfamily, of which the P. aeruginosa Hxc system is the archetype. This finding demonstrates how similar bacterial machineries evolve toward distinct mechanisms
that may contribute specific functions.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 07/2011; 286(27):24407-24416. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In gram-negative bacteria, type II secretion systems assemble a piston-like structure, called pseudopilus, which expels exoproteins out of the cell. The pseudopilus is constituted by a major pseudopilin that when overproduced multimerizes into a long cell surface structure named hyper-pseudopilus. Pseudomonas aeruginosa possesses two type II secretion systems, Xcp and Hxc. Although major pseudopilins are exchangeable among type II secretion systems, we show that XcpT and HxcT are not. We demonstrate that HxcT does not form a hyper-pseudopilus and is different in amino acid sequence and multimerization properties. Using structure-based mutagenesis, we observe that five mutations are sufficient to revert HxcT into a functional XcpT-like protein, which also becomes capable of forming a hyper-pseudopilus. Phylogenetic and experimental analysis showed that the whole Hxc system was acquired by P. aeruginosa PAO1 and other Pseudomonas species through horizontal gene transfer. We thus identified a new type II secretion subfamily, of which the P. aeruginosa Hxc system is the archetype. This finding demonstrates how similar bacterial machineries evolve toward distinct mechanisms that may contribute specific functions.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 05/2011; 286(27):24407-16. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pseudomonas aeruginosa utilizes the type II secretion machinery to transport virulence factors through the outer membrane into the extracellular space. Five proteins in the type II secretion system share sequence homology with pilin subunits of type IV pili and are called the pseudopilins. The major pseudopilin XcpT(G) assembles into an intraperiplasmic pilus and is thought to act in a piston-like manner to push substrates through an outer membrane secretin. The other four minor pseudopilins, XcpU(H), XcpV(I), XcpW(J) and XcpX(K), play less well defined roles in pseudopilus formation. It was recently discovered that these four minor pseudopilins form a quaternary complex that is presumed to initiate the formation of the pseudopilus and to localize to its tip. Here, the structure of XcpW(J) was refined to 1.85 Å resolution. The structure revealed the type IVa pilin fold with an embellished variable antiparallel β-sheet as also found in the XcpW(J) homologue enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli GspJ(W) and the XcpU(H) homologue Vibrio cholerae EpsU(H). It is proposed that the exposed surface of this sheet may cradle the long N-terminal α1 helix of another pseudopilin. The final 31 amino acids of the XcpW(J) structure are instrinsically disordered. Deletion of this unstructured region of XcpW(J) did not prevent type II secretion in vivo.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Gram-negative bacteria use the sophisticated type II secretion system (T2SS) to secrete a large number of exoproteins into the extracellular environment. Five proteins of the T2SS, the pseudopilins GspG-H-I-J-K, are proposed to assemble into a pseudopilus involved in the extrusion of the substrate through the outer membrane channel. Recent structural data have suggested that the three pseudopilins GspI-J-K are organized in a trimeric complex located at the tip of the GspG-containing pseudopilus. In the present work we combined two biochemical techniques to investigate the protein-protein interaction network between the five Pseudomonas aeruginosa Xcp pseudopilins. The soluble domains of XcpT-U-V-W-X (respectively homologous to GspG-H-I-J-K) were purified, and the interactions were tested by surface plasmon resonance and affinity co-purification in all possible combinations. We found an XcpV(I)-W(J)-X(K) complex, which demonstrates that the crystallized trimeric complex also exists in the P. aeruginosa T2SS. Interestingly, our systematic approach revealed an additional and yet uncharacterized interaction between XcpU(H) and XcpW(J). This observation suggested the existence of a quaternary, rather than ternary, complex (XcpU(H)-V(I)-W(J)-X(K)) at the tip of the pseudopilus. The assembly of this quaternary complex was further demonstrated by co-purification using affinity chromatography. Moreover, by testing various combinations of pseudopilins by surface plasmon resonance and affinity chromatography, we were able to dissect the different possible successive steps occurring during the formation of the quaternary complex. We propose a model in which XcpV(I) is the nucleator that first binds XcpX(K) and XcpW(J) at different sites. Then the ternary complex recruits XcpU(H) through a direct interaction with XcpW(J).
Journal of Biological Chemistry 10/2009; 284(50):34580-9. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The bacterial type II protein secretion (T2S) and type IV piliation (T4P) systems share several common features. In particular, it is well established that the T2S system requires the function of a pilus-like structure, called pseudopilus, which is built upon assembly of pilin-like subunits, called pseudopilins. Pilins and pseudopilins have a hydrophobic N-terminal region, which precedes an extended hydrophilic C-terminal region. In the case of pilins, it was shown that oligomerisation and formation of helical fibers, takes place through interaction between the hydrophobic domains. XcpT, is the most abundant protein of the Pseudomonas aeruginosa T2S, and was proposed to be the main component in the pseudopilus. In this study we present the high-resolution NMR structure of the hydrophilic domain of XcpT (XcpTp). XcpTp is lacking the C-terminal disulfide bridged "D" domain found in type IV pilins and likely involved in receptor binding. This is in agreement with the idea that the XcpT-containing pseudopilus is required for protein secretion and not for bacterial attachment. Interestingly, by solving the 3D structure of XcpTp we revealed that the previously called alphabeta-loop pilin region is in fact highly conserved among major type II pseudopilins and constitutes a specific consensus motif for identifying major pseudopilins, which belong to this family.
Journal of Structural Biology 09/2009; 169(1):75-80. · 3.36 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The opportunistic human pathogen bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa secretes various exoproteins in its surrounding environment. Protein secretion involves different secretory systems, including the type II secretion system, or T2SS, that is one of the most efficient secretory pathways of P. aeruginosa. There are two T2SS in this bacterium, the quorum-sensing-regulated Xcp system and the Hxc system, which is only present under phosphate-limiting conditions. Like T2SS of other bacteria, the Xcp T2SS is species specific, and this specificity mainly involves two proteins, XcpP (GspC family) and the secretin XcpQ (GspD family), which are the gatekeepers of the system. Interestingly, an orphan secretin, XqhA, was previously reported as being able to functionally replace the XcpQ secretin. In this study, we identified another gene, which we named xphA (xcpP homologue A), which is located next to xqhA. We showed that deletion of the xphA gene in an xcpP mutant caused the disappearance of the residual secretion observed in this mutant strain, indicating that the protein XphA plays a role in the secretion process. Our results also revealed that complementation of an xcpP/xcpQ mutant can be obtained with the gene couple xphA/xqhA. The XphA and XqhA proteins (the P(A)Q(A) subunit) could thus form, together with XcpR-Z, a functional hybrid T2SS. A two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis analysis showed that except for the aminopeptidase PaAP, for which secretion is not restored by the P(A)Q(A) subunit in the xcpP/xcpQ deletion mutant, each major Xcp-dependent exoprotein is secreted by the new hybrid machinery. Our work supports the idea that components of the GspC/GspD families, such as XphA/XqhA or XcpP/XcpQ, are assembled as a specific tandem within the T2SS. Each of these pairs may thus confer a different level of secretion specificity, as is the case with respect to PaAP. Finally, using a chromosomal xphA-lacZ fusion, we showed that the xphA-xqhA genes are transcribed from an early stage of bacterial growth. We thus suggest that the P(A)Q(A) subunit might be involved in the secretion process at a different growth stage than XcpP/XcpQ.
Journal of Bacteriology 06/2007; 189(10):3776-83. · 3.19 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic pathogen, which secretes a wide variety of enzymes and toxins into the extracellular medium. Most exoproteins are exported by the type II secretion machinery, the Xcp system, which encompasses 12 different proteins. One of the core components of the Xcp system is the inner-membrane protein XcpS (GspF), homologues of which can be identified in type II secretion machineries as well as in type IV piliation systems. In this study, XcpS was shown to be stabilized by co-expression of the XcpR (GspE) and XcpY (GspL) components of the machinery, demonstrating an interaction between these three proteins. By replacing segments of P. aeruginosa XcpS with the corresponding parts of its Pseudomonas putida counterpart, XcpS domains were identified that are important for species-specific functioning and thus represent putative interaction domains. The cytoplasmic loop of XcpS was found to be involved in the stabilization by XcpR and XcpY.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic gram-negative pathogen equipped with multiple secretion systems. The type II secretion machinery (Xcp secreton) is involved in the release of toxins and enzymes. The Xcp secreton is a multiprotein complex, and most of its components share homology with proteins involved in type IV pili biogenesis. Among them, the XcpT-X pseudopilins possess characteristics of the major constituent of the type IV pili, the pilin PilA. We have shown previously that XcpT can be assembled in a multifibrillar structure that was called the pseudopilus. By using two different microscopic approaches, we show here that the pseudopili are preferentially isolated fibers rather than tight bundles. Moreover, none of the other four pseudopilins are able to form a pseudopilus, suggesting that the assembly of such a structure is a unique property of XcpT. Moreover, we show that 5 of the 12 Xcp proteins are not required for pseudopilus biogenesis, whereas they are for type II secretion. Most interestingly, we showed that one pseudopilin, XcpX, controls the assembly of XcpT into a pseudopilus. Indeed, when the number of XcpX subunits increases, the length of the pseudopilus decreases. Conversely, in the absence of XcpX, the pseudopilus length is abnormally long. Our results indicate that XcpT and XcpX directly interact with each other. Furthermore, this interaction induces a clear destabilization of XcpT. The interaction between XcpT and XcpX could be part of the molecular mechanism underlying the dynamic control of pseudopilus elongation, which could be crucial for type II-dependent protein secretion.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 10/2005; 280(36):31378-89. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The type II secretion pathway of Pseudomonas aeruginosa is involved in the extracellular release of various toxins and hydrolytic enzymes such as exotoxin A and elastase. This pathway requires the function of a macromolecular complex called the Xcp secreton. The Xcp secreton shares many features with the machinery involved in type IV pilus assembly. More specifically, it involves the function of five pilin-like proteins, the XcpT-X pseudopilins. We show that, upon overexpression, the XcpT pseudopilin can be assembled in a pilus, which we call a type II pseudopilus. Image analysis and filtering of electron micrographs indicated that these appendages are composed of individual fibrils assembled together in a bundle structure. Our observations thus revealed that XcpT has properties similar to those of type IV pilin subunits. Interestingly, the assembly of the type II pseudopilus is not exclusively dependent on the Xcp machinery but can be supported by other similar machineries, such as the Pil (type IV pilus) and Hxc (type II secretion) systems of P. aeruginosa. In addition, heterologous pseudopilins can be assembled by P. aeruginosa into a type II pseudopilus. Finally, we showed that assembly of the type II pseudopilus confers increased bacterial adhesive capabilities. These observations confirmed the ability of pseudopilins to form a pilus structure and raise questions with respect to their function in terms of secretion and adhesion, two crucial biological processes in the course of bacterial infections.
Journal of Bacteriology 06/2003; 185(9):2749-58. · 3.19 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The genome sequence of Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain PAO1 has been determined to facilitate postgenomic studies aimed at understanding the capacity of adaptation of this ubiquitous opportunistic pathogen. P. aeruginosa produces toxins and hydrolytic enzymes that are secreted via the type II secretory pathway using the Xcp machinery or 'secreton'. In this study, we characterized a novel gene cluster, called hxc for homologous to xcp. Characterization of an hxcR mutant, grown in phosphate-limiting medium, revealed the absence of a 40 kDa protein found in the culture supernatant of wild-type or xcp derivative mutant strains. The protein corresponded to the alkaline phosphatase L-AP, renamed LapA, which is secreted in an xcp-independent but hxc-dependent manner. Finally, we showed that expression of the hxc gene cluster is under phosphate regulation. This is the first report of the existence of two functional type II secretory pathways within the same organism, which could be related to the high adaptation potential of P. aeruginosa.