Identification of A Novel Citrobacter rodentium Type III Secreted Protein, EspI, and Roles of This and Other Secreted Proteins in Infection

Rosanna Mundy, Liljana Petrovska, Katherine Smollett, Nandi Simpson, Rebecca K. Wilson, Jun Yu, Xuanlin Tu, Ilan Rosenshine, Simon Clare, Gordon Dougan, Gad Frankel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

133 Scopus citations


Citrobacter rodentium is a member of a group of pathogens that colonize the lumen of the host gastrointestinal tract via attaching and effacing (A/E) lesion formation. C. rodentium, which causes transmissible colonic hyperplasia in mice, is used as an in vivo model system for the clinically significant A/E pathogens enterohemorrhagic and enteropathogenic Escherichia coli. These bacteria all contain a pathogenicity island called the locus of enterocyte effacement (LEE), which encodes a type III secretion system that is designed to deliver effector proteins into eukaryotic host cells. These effectors are involved in the subversion of host eukaryotic cell functions to the benefit of the bacterium. In this study we used mutant strains to determine the effects of the C. rodentium LEE-encoded effectors EspF, EspG, EspH, and Map on virulence in the mouse model. In addition, we identified a novel secreted protein, EspI encoded outside the LEE, whose secretion is also dependent on a functional type III secretion system. Mutant strains with each of the effectors investigated were found to be outcompeted by wild-type bacteria in mixed-infection experiments in vivo, although the effects of EspF and EspH were only subtle. In single-infection experiments, we found that EspF, EspG, and EspH are not required for efficient colonization of the mouse colon or for the production of hyperplasia. In contrast, strains producing EspI and Map had significant colonization defects and resulted in dramatically reduced levels of hyperplasia, and they exhibited very different growth dynamics in mice than the wild-type strain exhibited.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)2288-2302
Number of pages15
JournalInfection and Immunity
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2004


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