Manipulation of pro-inflammatory cytokine production by the bacterial cell-penetrating effector protein YopM is independent of its interaction with host cell kinases RSK1 and PRK2.

PMID 25513777


The effector protein Yersinia outer protein M (YopM) of Yersinia enterocolitica has previously been identified and characterized as the first bacterial cell-penetrating protein (CPP). We found that recombinant YopM (rYopM) enters different eukaryotic cell types and downregulates the expression of several pro-inflammatory cytokines (e.g., tumor necrosis factor-α [TNF-α]) after autonomous translocation. After infection with Y. enterocolitica or transfection of host cells, YopM interacts with isoforms of the two kinases ribosomal S6 protein kinase (RSK) and protein kinase C-related kinase (PRK). This interaction caused sustained RSK activation due to interference with dephosphorylation. Here we demonstrate by co-immunoprecipitation that rYopM interacts with RSK and PRK following cell-penetration. We show that autonomously translocated rYopM forms a trimeric complex with different RSK and PRK isoforms. Furthermore, we constructed a series of truncated versions of rYopM to map the domain required for the formation of the complex. The C-terminus of rYopM was identified to be essential for the interaction with RSK1, whereas any deletion in rYopM's leucin-rich repeat domains abrogated PRK2 binding. Moreover, we found that the interaction of cell-penetrating rYopM with RSK led to enhanced autophosphorylation of this kinase at serine 380. Finally, we investigated whether downstream signaling of the trimeric rYopM-RSK/PRK complex modulates the expression of pro-inflammatory TNF-α. Here, we could exclude that interaction with RSK1 and PRK2 is essential for the anti-inflammatory effects of rYopM.

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