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Structure of a Peptidoglycan Amidase Effector Targeted to Gram-Negative Bacteria by the Type VI Secretion System

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Nhat Khai Bui, Professor Waldemar Vollmer


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The target range of a bacterial secretion system can be defined by effector substrate specificity or by the efficacy of effector delivery. Here, we report the crystal structure of Tse1, a type VI secretion (T6S) bacteriolytic amidase effector from Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Consistent with its role as a toxin, Tse1 has a more accessible active site than related housekeeping enzymes. The activity of Tse1 against isolated peptidoglycan shows its capacity to act broadly against Gram-negative bacteria and even certain Gram-positive species. Studies with intact cells indicate that Gram-positive bacteria can remain vulnerable to Tse1 despite cell wall modifications. However, interbacterial competition studies demonstrate that Tse1-dependent lysis is restricted to Gram-negative targets. We propose that the previously observed specificity for T6S against Gram-negative bacteria is a consequence of high local effector concentration achieved by T6S-dependent targeting to its site of action rather than inherent effector substrate specificity.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Chou S, Bui NK, Russell AB, Lexa KW, Gardiner TE, LeRoux M, Vollmer W, Mougous JD

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Cell Reports

Year: 2012

Volume: 1

Issue: 6

Pages: 656-664

Print publication date: 28/06/2012

ISSN (print): 2211-1247

ISSN (electronic):

Publisher: Cell Press


DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2012.05.016


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Funder referenceFunder name
European Commission
Burroughs Wellcome Fund
AI080609National Institutes of Health
DGE-0718124National Science Foundation