Functional Dissection of SseF, a Type III Effector Protein Involved in Positioning the Salmonella-Containing Vacuole

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Abstract

Intracellular replication of Salmonella enterica requires the formation of a unique organelle termed Salmonella-containing vacuole (SCV). The type III secretion system (T3SS) encoded by Salmonella Pathogenicity Island 2 (SPI2–T3SS) has a crucial role in the formation and maintenance of the SCV. The SPI2–T3SS translocates a large number of effector proteins that interfere with host cell functions such as microtubule-dependent transport. We investigated the function of the effector SseF and observed that this protein is required to maintain the SCV in a juxtanuclear position in infected epithelial cells. The formation of juxtanuclear clusters of replicating Salmonella required the recruitment of dynein to the SCV but SseF-deficient strains were highly reduced in dynein recruitment to the SCV. We performed a functional dissection of SseF and defined domains that were important for translocation and the specific effector functions of this protein. Of particular importance was a hydrophobic domain in the C-terminal half that contains three putative transmembrane (TM) helices. Deletion of one of these TM helices ablated the effector functions of SseF. We observed that this domain was essential for the proper intracellular positioning of the SCV to a juxtanuclear, Golgi-associated localization. These data show that SseF, in concert with the effector proteins SifA and SseG mediate the precise positioning of the SCV by differentially modulating the recruitment of microtubule motor proteins to the SCV.

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