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A substrate of the centisome 63 type III protein secretion system of Salmonella typhimurium is encoded by a cryptic bacteriophage

The National Academy of Sciences
Publication Date
  • Biological Sciences
  • Biology


Salmonella enterica has evolved a type III protein secretion system that allows these enteropathogens to translocate effector molecules directly into the host cell cytoplasm. These effectors mediate a variety of responses, including cytoskeletal rearrangements, cytokine production, and in certain cells, the induction of apoptosis. We report here the characterization of a substrate of this secretion system in S. enterica serovar typhimurium (Salmonella typhimurium) that is homologous to the SopE protein of Salmonella dublin implicated in bacterial entry into cultured epithelial cells. The sopE locus is located within a cluster of genes that encode tail and tail fiber proteins of a cryptic P2-like prophage, outside of the centisome 63 pathogenicity island that encodes the invasion-associated type III secretion system. Southern hybridization analysis revealed that sopE is present in only a subset of S. enterica serovars and that the flanking bacteriophage genes are also highly polymorphic. Encoding effector proteins that are delivered through type III secretion systems in highly mobile genetic elements may allow pathogens to adapt rapidly by facilitating the assembly of an appropriate set of effector proteins required for successful replication in a new environment.

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