The Legionella IcmSW Complex Directly Interacts with DotL to Mediate Translocation of Adaptor-Dependent Substrates

Molly C. Sutherland, Thuy Linh Nguyen, Victor Tseng, Joseph P. Vogel

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Legionella pneumophila is a Gram-negative bacterium that replicates within human alveolar macrophages by evasion of the host endocytic pathway through the formation of a replicative vacuole. Generation of this vacuole is dependent upon the secretion of over 275 effector proteins into the host cell via the Dot/Icm type IVB secretion system (T4SS). The type IV coupling protein (T4CP) subcomplex, consisting of DotL, DotM, DotN, IcmS and IcmW, was recently defined. DotL is proposed to be the T4CP of the L. pneumophila T4SS based on its homology to known T4CPs, which function as inner-membrane receptors for substrates. As a result, DotL is hypothesized to play an integral role(s) in the L. pneumophila T4SS for the engagement and translocation of substrates. To elucidate this role, a genetic approach was taken to screen for dotL mutants that were unable to survive inside host cells. One mutant, dotLY725Stop, did not interact with the type IV adaptor proteins IcmS/IcmW (IcmSW) leading to the identification of an IcmSW-binding domain on DotL. Interestingly, the dotLY725Stop mutant was competent for export of one class of secreted effectors, the IcmSW-independent substrates, but exhibited a specific defect in secretion of IcmSW-dependent substrates. This differential secretion illustrates that DotL requires a direct interaction with the type IV adaptor proteins for the secretion of a major class of substrates. Thus, by identifying a new target for IcmSW, we have discovered that the type IV adaptors perform an additional role in the export of substrates by the L. pneumophila Dot/Icm T4SS.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1002910
JournalPLoS pathogens
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2012


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