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Characterization of EspC, a 110-kilodalton protein secreted by enteropathogenic Escherichia coli which is homologous to members of the immunoglobulin A protease-like family of secreted proteins.

By M Stein, B Kenny, M A Stein and B B Finlay


Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) secretes at least five proteins. Two of these proteins, EspA and EspB (previously called EaeB), activate signal transduction pathways in host epithelial cells. While the role of the other three proteins (39, 40, and 110 kDa) remains undetermined, secretion of all five proteins is under the control of perA, a known positive regulator of several EPEC virulence factors. On the basis of amino-terminal protein sequence data, we cloned and sequenced the gene which encodes the 110-kDa secreted protein and examined its possible role in EPEC signaling and interaction with epithelial cells. In accordance with the terminology used for espA and espB, we called this gene espC, for EPEC-secreted protein C. We found significant homology between the predicted EspC protein sequence and a family of immunoglobulin A (IgA) protease-like proteins which are widespread among pathogenic bacteria. Members of this protein family are found in avian pathogenic Escherichia coli (Tsh), Haemophilus influenzae (Hap), and Shigella flexneri (SepA). Although these proteins and EspC do not encode IgA protease activity, they have considerable homology with IgA protease from Neisseria gonorrhoeae and H. influenzae and appear to use a export system for secretion. We found that genes homologous to espC also exist in other pathogenic bacteria which cause attaching and effacing lesions, including Hafnia alvei biotype 19982, Citrobacter freundii biotype 4280, and rabbit diarrheagenic E. coli (RDEC-1). Although these strains secrete various proteins similar in molecular size to the proteins secreted by EPEC, we did not detect secretion of a 110-kDa protein by these strains. To examine the possible role of EspC in EPEC interactions with epithelial cells, we constructed a deletion mutant in espC by allelic exchange and characterized the mutant by standard tissue culture assays. We found that EspC is not necessary for mediating EPEC-induced signal transduction in HeLa epithelial cells and does not play a role in adherence or invasion of tissue culture cells

Topics: Research Article
Year: 1996
DOI identifier: 10.1128/jb.178.22.6546-6554.1996
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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