Essential to salmonellae pathogenesis is an export device called the type III secretion system (TTSS), which mediates the transfer of bacterial effector proteins from the bacterial cell into the host cell cytoplasm. Once inside the host cell, these effectors are then capable of altering a variety of host cellular functions in order to promote bacterial survival and colonization. SspH1 is a Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium TTSS effector that localizes to the mammalian nucleus and down-modulates production of proinflammatory cytokines by inhibiting nuclear factor (NF)-kappaB-dependent gene expression. To identify mammalian binding partners of SspH1 a yeast two-hybrid screen against a human spleen cDNA library was performed. It yielded a serine/threonine protein kinase called protein kinase N 1 (PKN1). The leucine-rich repeat domain of SspH1 was demonstrated to mediate this interaction and also inhibition of NF-kappaB-dependent gene expression. This suggested that PKN1 may play a role in modulation of the NF-kappaB signalling pathway. Indeed, we found that expression of constitutively active PKN1 in mammalian cells results in a decrease, while depletion of PKN1 by RNA interference causes an increase in NF-kappaB-dependent reporter gene expression. These data indicate that SspH1 may inhibit the host's inflammatory response by interacting with PKN1.