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, 68 (4), 997-1017

A Novel Autotransporter of Uropathogenic Proteus Mirabilis Is Both a Cytotoxin and an Agglutinin


A Novel Autotransporter of Uropathogenic Proteus Mirabilis Is Both a Cytotoxin and an Agglutinin

Praveen Alamuri et al. Mol Microbiol.


One of the six predicted Proteus mirabilis autotransporters (ATs), ORF c2341, is predicted to contain a serine protease motif and was earlier identified as an immunogenic outer membrane protein in P. mirabilis. The 3.2 kb gene encodes a 117 kDa protein with a 58-amino-acid-long signal peptide, a 75-kDa-long N-terminal passenger domain and a 30-kDa-long C-terminal translocator. Affinity-purified 110 kDa AT exhibited chymotrypsin-like activity and hydrolysed N-Suc-Ala-Ala-Pro-Phe-pNa and N-Suc-Ala-Ala-Pro-Leu-pNa with a K(M) of 22 muM and 31 muM, respectively, under optimal pH of 8.5-9.0 in a Ca(2+)-dependent manner. Activity was inhibited by subtilase-specific inhibitors leupeptin and chymostatin. Both the cell-associated and purified form elicited cytopathic effects on cultured kidney and bladder epithelial cells. Substrate hydrolysis as well as cytotoxicity was associated with the passenger domain and was compromised upon mutation of any of the catalytic residues (Ser366, His147 and Asp533). At alkaline pH and optimal cell density, the AT also promoted autoaggregation of P. mirabilis and this function was independent of its protease activity. Cytotoxicity, autoaggregation and virulence were significantly reduced in an isogenic pta mutant of P. mirabilis. Proteus toxic agglutinin (Pta) represents a novel autotransported cytotoxin with no bacterial homologues that works optimally in the alkalinized urinary tract, a characteristic of urease-mediated urea hydrolysis during P. mirabilis infection.

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