InvL, an Invasin-Like Adhesin, Is a Type II Secretion System Substrate Required for Acinetobacter baumannii Uropathogenesis

Clay D. Jackson-Litteken, Gisela Di Venanzio, Nguyen Hung Le, Nichollas E. Scott, Bardya Djahanschiri, Jesus S. Distel, Evan J. Pardue, Ingo Ebersberger, Mario F. Feldman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Acinetobacter baumannii is an opportunistic pathogen of growing concern, as isolates are commonly multidrug resistant. While A. baumannii is most frequently associated with pulmonary infections, a significant proportion of clinical isolates come from urinary sources, highlighting its uropathogenic potential. The type II secretion system (T2SS) of commonly used model Acinetobacter strains is important for virulence in various animal models, but the potential role of the T2SS in urinary tract infection (UTI) remains unknown. Here, we used a catheter-associated UTI (CAUTI) model to demonstrate that a modern urinary isolate, UPAB1, requires the T2SS for full virulence. A proteomic screen to identify putative UPAB1 T2SS effectors revealed an uncharacterized lipoprotein with structural similarity to the intimin-invasin family, which serve as type V secretion system (T5SS) adhesins required for the pathogenesis of several bacteria. This protein, designated InvL, lacked the b-barrel domain associated with T5SSs but was confirmed to require the T2SS for both surface localization and secretion. This makes InvL the first identified T2SS effector belonging to the intimin-invasin family. InvL was confirmed to be an adhesin, as the protein bound to extracellular matrix components and mediated adhesion to urinary tract cell lines in vitro. Additionally, the invL mutant was attenuated in the CAUTI model, indicating a role in Acinetobacter uropathogenesis. Finally, bioinformatic analyses revealed that InvL is present in nearly all clinical isolates belonging to international clone 2, a lineage of significant clinical importance. In all, we conclude that the T2SS substrate InvL is an adhesin required for A. baumannii uropathogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2022


  • KEYWORDS Acinetobacter
  • adhesin
  • infection
  • invasin
  • pathogenesis
  • type II secretion system
  • urinary tract infection
  • virulence


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