EspZ of enteropathogenic and enterohemorrhagic escherichia coli regulates type III secretion system protein translocation

Gad Frankel*, Cedric N. Berger, Valerie F. Crepin, Kobi Baruch, Aurelie Mousnier, Ilan Rosenshine

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Translocation of effector proteins via a type III secretion system (T3SS) is a widespread infection strategy among Gram-negative bacterial pathogens. Each pathogen translocates a particular set of effectors that subvert cell signaling in a way that suits its particular infection cycle. However, as effector unbalance might lead to cytotoxicity, the pathogens must employ mechanisms that regulate the intracellular effector concentration. We present evidence that the effector EspZ controls T3SS effector translocation from enteropathogenic (EPEC) and enterohemorrhagic (EHEC) Escherichia coli. Consistently, an EPEC espZ mutant is highly cytotoxic. Following ectopic expression, we found that EspZ inhibited the formation of actin pedestals as it blocked the translocation of Tir, as well as other effectors, including Map and EspF. Moreover, during infection EspZ inhibited effector translocation following superinfection. Importantly, while EspZ of EHEC O157:H7 had a universal "translocation stop" activity, EspZ of EPEC inhibited effector translocation from typical EPEC strains but not from EHEC O157:H7 or its progenitor, atypical EPEC O55:H7. We found that the N and C termini of EspZ, which contains two transmembrane domains, face the cyto-solic leaflet of the plasma membrane at the site of bacterial attachment, while the extracellular loop of EspZ is responsible for its strain-specific activity. These results show that EPEC and EHEC acquired a sophisticated mechanism to regulate the effector translocation.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numbere00317-12
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2012


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