Expression and Targeting of Secreted Proteins from Chlamydia trachomatis


Chlamydia trachomatis is an obligate intracellular pathogen that replicates in a vacuole termed the inclusion. Many of the inter-actions of chlamydiae with the host cell are dependent upon bacterial protein synthesis and presumably exposure of these pro-teins to the cytosol. Because of the dearth of genetic tools for chlamydiae, previous studies examining secreted proteins required the use of heterologous bacterial systems. Recent advances in genetic manipulation of chlamydia now allow for transformation of the bacteria with plasmids. We describe here a shuttle vector system, pBOMB4, that permits expression of recombinant pro-teins under constitutive or conditional promoter control. We show that the inclusionmembrane protein IncD is secreted in a type III-dependent manner from Yersinia pseudotuberculosis and also secreted from C. trachomatis in infected cells where it localizes appropriately to the inclusionmembrane. IncD truncated of the first 30 amino acids containing the secretion signal is no longer secreted and is retained by the bacteria. Cytosolic exposure of secreted proteins can be confirmed by using CyaA, GSK, or microinjection assays. A protein predicted to be retained within the bacteria, NrdB is indeed localized to the chlamydia. In addition, we have shown that the chlamydial effector protein, CPAF, which is secreted into the host cell cytosol by a Sec-depen-dent pathway, also accesses the cytosol when expressed from this system. These assays should prove useful to assess the secretion of other chlamydial proteins that are potentially exposed to the cytosol of the host cell. Chlamydiae aremedically significantGram-negative pathogensof human and veterinary importance. Chlamydia trachomatis is a major cause of human morbidity. The species is comprised o

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