Nearly 10% of the coding capacity of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis genome is devoted to two highly expanded and enigmatic protein families called PE and PPE, some of which are important virulence/immunogenicity factors and are secreted during infection via a unique alternative secretory system termed "type VII." How PE-PPE proteins function during infection and how they are translocated to the bacterial surface through the five distinct type VII secretion systems [ESAT-6 secretion system (ESX)] of M. tuberculosis is poorly understood. Here, we report the crystal structure of a PE-PPE heterodimer bound to ESX secretion-associated protein G (EspG), which adopts a novel fold. This PE-PPE-EspG complex, along with structures of two additional EspGs, suggests that EspG acts as an adaptor that recognizes specific PE-PPE protein complexes via extensive interactions with PPE domains, and delivers them to ESX machinery for secretion. Surprisingly, secretion of most PE-PPE proteins in M. tuberculosis is likely mediated by EspG from the ESX-5 system, underscoring the importance of ESX-5 in mycobacterial pathogenesis. Moreover, our results indicate that PE-PPE domains function as cis-acting targeting sequences that are read out by EspGs, revealing the molecular specificity for secretion through distinct ESX pathways.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - Oct 14 2014|
- Antigenic variation
- Host-pathogen interactions
- Protein secretion
- Virulence factor