Type IV pili are not specifically required for contact dependent translocation of exoenzymes by Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Microb Pathog. 2002 Dec;33(6):265-77. doi: 10.1006/mpat.2002.0534.


The type III secretion system (TTSS) of the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa enables the bacterium to deliver exoenzymes directly into the eukaryotic cell. In this study we have investigated the role of key factors involved in this process. We could demonstrate that the translocators PopB, PopD and PcrV are absolutely required for delivery of Exoenzyme S into host cells. By analyzing different Tfp (type IV pili) mutants we could establish a correlation between the frequency of bacteria binding to the host cell and the levels of translocated ExoS, thereby verifying that the process is contact dependent. However, there was no absolute requirement for the Tfp per se, since the pilus could be substituted with a different type of adhesin, the non-fimbrial adhesin pH6 antigen of Yersinia pestis. Taken together, our results demonstrate that binding to establish close contact between the type III secretion organelle and the host cell is essential for translocation, while the additional activities of Tfp are not essential for the delivery of TTSS proteins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • ADP Ribose Transferases / metabolism*
  • Antigens, Bacterial / metabolism
  • Bacterial Adhesion*
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Bacterial Toxins / metabolism*
  • Fimbriae, Bacterial / genetics
  • Fimbriae, Bacterial / metabolism*
  • HeLa Cells / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Mutation
  • Pore Forming Cytotoxic Proteins
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / genetics
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / metabolism*
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / pathogenicity


  • Antigens, Bacterial
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Bacterial Toxins
  • PopB protein, Ralstonia solanacearum
  • Pore Forming Cytotoxic Proteins
  • antigen V, Pseudomonas
  • ADP Ribose Transferases
  • exoenzyme S