Identification of Vibrio cholerae type III secretion system effector proteins

Ashfaqul Alam, Kelly A. Miller, Mudit Chaand, J. Scott Butler, Michelle Dziejman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


AM-19226 is a pathogenic O39 serogroup Vibrio cholerae strain that lacks the typical virulence factors for colonization (toxin-coregulated pilus [TCP]) and toxin production (cholera toxin [CT]) and instead encodes a type III secretion system (T3SS). The mechanism of pathogenesis is unknown, and few effector proteins have been identified. We therefore undertook a survey of the open reading frames (ORFs) within the ~49.7-kb T3SS genomic island to identify potential effector proteins. We identified 15 ORFs for their ability to inhibit growth when expressed in yeast and then used a β-lactamase (TEM1) fusion reporter system to demonstrate that 11 proteins were bona fide effectors translocated into HeLa cells in vitro in a T3SS-dependent manner. One effector, which we named VopX (A33_1663), is conserved only in V. cholerae and Vibrio parahaemolyticus T3SS-positive strains and has not been previously studied. A vopX deletion reduces the ability of strain AM-19226 to colonize in vivo, and the bile-induced expression of a vopX-lacZ transcriptional fusion in vitro is regulated by the T3SS-encoded transcriptional regulators VttRA and VttRB. An RLM1 yeast deletion strain rescued the growth inhibition induced by VopX expression, suggesting that VopX interacts with components of the cell wall integrity mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway. The collective results show that the V. cholerae T3SS encodes multiple effector proteins, one of which likely has novel activities that contribute to disease via interference with eukaryotic signaling pathways.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1728-1740
Number of pages13
JournalInfection and Immunity
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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