Pathogenic Acinetobacter species have a functional type i secretion system and contact-dependent inhibition systems

Christian M. Harding, Marina R. Pulido, Gisela Di Venanzio, Rachel L. Kinsella, Andrew I. Webb, Nichollas E. Scott, Jerónimo Pachón, Mario F. Feldman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Pathogenic Acinetobacter species, including Acinetobacter baumannii and Acinetobacter nosocomialis, are opportunistic human pathogens of increasing relevance worldwide. Although their mechanisms of drug resistance are well studied, the virulence factors that govern Acinetobacter pathogenesis are incompletely characterized. Here we define the complete secretome of A. nosocomialis strainM2in minimal medium and demonstrate that pathogenic Acinetobacter species produce both a functional type I secretion system (T1SS) and a contact-dependent inhibition (CDI) system. Using bioinformatics, quantitative proteomics, and mutational analyses, we show that Acinetobacter uses its T1SS for exporting two putative T1SS effectors, an Repeatsin-Toxin (RTX)-serralysin-like toxin, and the biofilm-associated protein (Bap). Moreover, we found that mutation of any component of the T1SS system abrogated type VI secretion activity under nutrient-limited conditions, indicating a previously unrecognized cross-talk between these two systems. We also demonstrate that the Acinetobacter T1SS is required for biofilm formation. Last, we show that both A. nosocomialis and A. baumannii produce functioning CDI systems that mediate growth inhibition of sister cells lacking the cognate immunity protein. The Acinetobacter CDI systems are widely distributed across pathogenic Acinetobacter species, with many A. baumannii isolates harboring two distinct CDI systems. Collectively, these data demonstrate the power of differential, quantitative proteomics approaches to study secreted proteins, define the role of previously uncharacterized protein export systems, and observe cross-talk between secretion systems in the pathobiology of medically relevant Acinetobacter species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9075-9087
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number22
StatePublished - Jun 2 2017


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