Yersinia Controls Type III Effector Delivery Into Host Cells by Modulating Rho Activity

PLoS Pathog. 2008 Jan;4(1):e3. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.0040003.


Yersinia pseudotuberculosis binds to beta1 integrin receptors, and uses the type III secretion proteins YopB and YopD to introduce pores and to translocate Yop effectors directly into host cells. Y. pseudotuberculosis lacking effectors that inhibit Rho GTPases, YopE and YopT, have high pore forming activity. Here, we present evidence that Y. pseudotuberculosis selectively modulates Rho activity to induce cellular changes that control pore formation and effector translocation. Inhibition of actin polymerization decreased pore formation and YopE translocation in HeLa cells infected with Y. pseudotuberculosis. Inactivation of Rho, Rac, and Cdc42 by treatment with Clostridium difficile toxin B inhibited pore formation and YopE translocation in infected HeLa cells. Expression of a dominant negative form of Rac did not reduce the uptake of membrane impermeable dyes in HeLa cells infected with a pore forming strain YopEHJT(-). Similarly, the Rac inhibitor NSC23766 did not decrease pore formation or translocation, although it efficiently hindered Rac-dependent bacterial uptake. In contrast, C. botulinum C3 potently reduced pore formation and translocation, implicating Rho A, B, and/or C in the control of the Yop delivery. An invasin mutant (Y. pseudotuberculosis invD911E) that binds to beta1 integrins, but inefficiently transduces signals through the receptors, was defective for YopE translocation. Interfering with the beta1 integrin signaling pathway, by inhibiting Src kinase activity, negatively affected YopE translocation. Additionally, Y. pseudotuberculosis infection activated Rho by a mechanism that was dependent on YopB and on high affinity bacteria interaction with beta1 integrin receptors. We propose that Rho activation, mediated by signals triggered by the YopB/YopD translocon and from engagement of beta1 integrin receptors, stimulates actin polymerization and activates the translocation process, and that once the Yops are translocated, the action of YopE or YopT terminate delivery of Yops and prevents pore formation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • ADP Ribose Transferases / pharmacology
  • Aminoquinolines / pharmacology
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Botulinum Toxins / pharmacology
  • Cell Membrane / drug effects
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism*
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • HeLa Cells / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Protein Transport / drug effects
  • Protein Transport / physiology*
  • Pyrimidines / pharmacology
  • Yersinia pseudotuberculosis / physiology*
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism*


  • Aminoquinolines
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • NSC 23766
  • Pyrimidines
  • yopE protein, Yersinia
  • ADP Ribose Transferases
  • exoenzyme C3, Clostridium botulinum
  • Botulinum Toxins
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins