Type III effector VopC mediates invasion for Vibrio species

Cell Rep. 2012 May 31;1(5):453-60. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2012.04.004. Epub 2012 May 3.


Vibrio spp. are associated with infections caused by contaminated food and water. A type III secretion system (T3SS2) is a shared feature of all clinical isolates of V. parahaemolyticus and some V. cholerae strains. Despite its being responsible for enterotoxicity, no molecular mechanism has been determined for the T3SS2-dependent pathogenicity. Here, we show that although Vibrio spp. are typically thought of as extracellular pathogens, the T3SS2 of Vibrio mediates host cell invasion, vacuole formation, and replication of intracellular bacteria. The catalytically active effector VopC is critical for Vibrio T3SS2-mediated invasion. There are other marine bacteria encoding VopC homologs associated with a T3SS; therefore, we predict that these bacteria are also likely to use T3SS-mediated invasion as part of their pathogenesis mechanisms. These findings suggest a new molecular paradigm for Vibrio pathogenicity and modify our view of the roles of T3SS effectors that are translocated during infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Bacterial Proteins / physiology*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial / physiology
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Vibrio
  • Vibrio Infections / physiopathology*
  • Vibrio cholerae / pathogenicity*
  • Vibrio cholerae / physiology
  • Vibrio parahaemolyticus / pathogenicity*
  • Vibrio parahaemolyticus / physiology
  • Virus Replication / physiology
  • cdc42 GTP-Binding Protein / physiology
  • rac GTP-Binding Proteins / physiology


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • cdc42 GTP-Binding Protein
  • rac GTP-Binding Proteins