MxiA, MxiC and IpaD Regulate Substrate Selection and Secretion Mode in the T3SS of Shigella flexneri

Dakang Shen, Ariel J Blocker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
309 Downloads (Pure)


Type III secretion systems (T3SSs) are central virulence devices for many Gram-negative bacterial pathogens of humans, animals & plants. Upon physical contact with eukaryotic host cells, they translocate virulence-mediating proteins, known as effectors, into them during infection. T3SSs are gated from the outside by host-cell contact and from the inside via two cytoplasmic negative regulators, MxiC and IpaD in Shigella flexneri, which together control the effector secretion hierarchy. Their absence leads to premature and increased secretion of effectors. Here, we investigated where and how these regulators act. We demonstrate that the T3SS inner membrane export apparatus protein MxiA plays a role in substrate selection. Indeed, using a genetic screen, we identified two amino acids located on the surface of MxiA’s cytoplasmic region (MxiAC) which, when mutated, upregulate late effector expression and, in the case of MxiAI674V, also secretion. The cytoplasmic region of MxiA, but not MxiAN373D and MxiAI674V, interacts directly with the C-terminus of MxiC in a two-hybrid assay. Efficient T3S requires a cytoplasmic ATPase and the proton motive force (PMF), which is composed of the ΔΨ and the pH. MxiA family proteins and their regulators are implicated in utilization of the PMF for protein export. However, our MxiA point mutants show similar PMF utilisation to wild-type, requiring primarily the ΔΨ. On the other hand, lack of MxiC or IpaD, renders the faster T3S seen increasingly dependent on the pH. Therefore, MxiA, MxiC and IpaD act together to regulate substrate selection and secretion mode in the T3SS of Shigella flexneri.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0155141
Number of pages19
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 12 May 2016


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