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The Journal of biological chemistry

Steps for Shigella Gatekeeper Protein MxiC Function in Hierarchical Type III Secretion Regulation.


PMID 27974466

Abstract

Type III secretion systems are complex nanomachines used for injection of proteins from Gram-negative bacteria into eukaryotic cells. Although they are assembled when the environmental conditions are appropriate, they only start secreting upon contact with a host cell. Secretion is hierarchical. First, the pore-forming translocators are released. Second, effector proteins are injected. Hierarchy between these protein classes is mediated by a conserved gatekeeper protein, MxiC, in Shigella As its molecular mechanism of action is still poorly understood, we used its structure to guide site-directed mutagenesis and to dissect its function. We identified mutants predominantly affecting all known features of MxiC regulation as follows: secretion of translocators, MxiC and/or effectors. Using molecular genetics, we then mapped at which point in the regulatory cascade the mutants were affected. Analysis of some of these mutants led us to a set of electron paramagnetic resonance experiments that provide evidence that MxiC interacts directly with IpaD. We suggest how this interaction regulates a switch in its conformation that is key to its functions.

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