Assembly and arrangement of the type three secretion system of "yersinia enterocolitica"

Amstutz, Marlise. Assembly and arrangement of the type three secretion system of "yersinia enterocolitica". 2014, PhD Thesis, University of Basel, Faculty of Science.


Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/diss/DissB_10826


The type three secretion system (T3SS) is a bacterial weapon found in many Gram-negative bacteria. It consists out of a needle like structure called injectisome, which enables bacteria to inject effector proteins into eukaryotic cells. The injectisome is a very complex molecular machine, inserted in the inner and outer bacteria membrane, passing the periplasm with the peptidoglycan layer. We used an approach with fluorescent hybrid proteins to study the assembly order of the injectisome in Yersinia enterocolitica. First the outer membrane protein YscC was genetically fused to the red fluorescent protein mCherry. This construct was able to build fluorescent foci in the bacterial membrane by itself, without any other components of the T3SS. Then we engineered fusions between the green fluorescent protein EGFP and the inner membrane protein YscD, the putative C-ring protein YscQ or the ATPase YscN. All three constructs showed fluorescent foci at the bacterial membrane. Comparison of the different EGFP constructs with the YscC-mCherry construct in double mutants showed that the proteins co-localize. Thus we considered the foci to be a read out for injectisome assembly. By combining the EGFP constructs with different deletion mutants we found that the assembly occurs from the outside to the inside. Starting with the outer membrane protein YscC to the inner membrane. Then the ATPase and C-ring assemble together and finally the needle is formed.
Different single particle structures of T3SS, needle complexes, purified from Shigella flexneri and Salmonella enterica are available. But in the course of purification the inner membrane export apparatus, the ATPase complex and the C-ring were lost. As well no such complex has been purified from Y. enterocolitica. Thus we investigated the Y. enterocolitica injectisomes in situ by cryo electron tomography (cryo-ET). Unfortunately, the 1-?m diameter of Y. enterocolitica is too large to obtain optimal resolution with cryo-ET. Thus we engineered a minD mutant that forms so called minicells, due to asymmetric septum placement. We collected tomograms of particles from wild type and minicells and constructed an average structure with a resolution of 3.7 nm. In addition the 6 nm resolution in situ structure of the injectisome of S. flexneri was made. We saw significant stretching of the in situ structure compared to the isolated particles. Moreover we saw flexibility of the basal body. We can only speculate that such flexibility might increase the stability of the structure and protect it of mechanical forces. In addition for the first time we could visualize a mass in cytoplasm just below the middle of the injectisome. Due to homology to the flagellum we can assume, that this is the ATPase. But to conclusively assign proteins to masses seen in the in situ structure we would need to label them.
A question mark in the Y. enterocolitica injectisome assembly is, how the structure can pass the peptidoglycan layer. The flagellum, which is evolutionary closely related to the injectisome, as well as other types of injectisomes have a muramidase or more specifically lytic transglycosylase (LT) encoded within their loci. No gene encoding for a LT, can be found on the pYV plasmid that encodes otherwise for the entire T3SS. Thus we tested several genomic LT for their involvement in the assembly of the T3SS. It is possible that the injectisome assembles through temporary gaps generated during the synthesis of new peptidoglycan strands. This theory is very intriguing, as the pattern of the fluorescent foci resembled closely the arrangement of the bacterial cytoskeleton protein MreB, which is assumed to be involved in placing the peptidoglycan synthesis machinery. Comparing the localization of MreB and the injectisome showed that both constructs seem to be arranged on two different helical paths. This convinced us that injectisome arrangement is not stochastic but rather controlled. To find the underlying structure responsible for this arrangement, we compared the localization of other proteins with similar arrangement as MreB. In Bacillus subtilis different membrane compositions were shown to be helically distributed. Unfortunately staining of the inner membrane is difficult in Gram-negative bacteria. Therefore we compared injectisome location with a potential bacterial lipid raft marker, which showed injectisomes do not insert into the lipid rafts.
Thus although our knowledge about the assembly, the structure and the function of the T3SS is improving enormously, the question of how injectisomes are localized remains to be answered.
Advisors:Cornelis, Guy R.
Committee Members:Stahlberg, Henning
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Biozentrum > Former Organization Units Biozentrum > Molecular Microbiology (Cornelis)
Item Type:Thesis
Thesis no:10826
Bibsysno:Link to catalogue
Number of Pages:149 S.
Identification Number:
Last Modified:30 Jun 2016 10:55
Deposited On:01 Jul 2014 13:08

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