Genus-optimized strategy for the identification of chlamydial type III secretion substrates

Pathog Dis. 2013 Dec;69(3):213-22. doi: 10.1111/2049-632X.12070. Epub 2013 Aug 14.


Among chlamydial virulence factors are the type III secretion (T3S) system and its effectors. T3S effectors target host proteins to benefit the infecting chlamydiae. The assortment of effectors, each with a unique function, varies between species. This variation likely contributes to differences in host specificity and disease severity. A dozen effectors of Chlamydia trachomatis have been identified; however, estimates suggest that more exist. A T3S prediction algorithm, SVM-based Identification and Evaluation of Virulence Effectors (SIEVE), along with a Yersinia surrogate secretion system helped to identify a new T3S substrate, CT082, which rather than functioning as an effector associates with the chlamydial envelope after secretion. SIEVE was modified to improve/expand effector predictions to include all sequenced genomes. Additional adjustments were made to the existing surrogate system whereby the N terminus of putative effectors was fused to a known effector lacking its own N terminus and was tested for secretion. Expansion of effector predictions by cSIEVE and modification of the surrogate system have also assisted in identifying a new T3S substrate from C. psittaci. The expanded predictions along with modifications to improve the surrogate secretion system have enhanced our ability to identify novel species-specific effectors, which upon characterization should provide insight into the unique pathogenic properties of each species.

Keywords: Chlamydia; effector; type III secretion.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Secretion Systems / physiology*
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Chlamydia trachomatis / genetics
  • Chlamydia trachomatis / metabolism*
  • Chlamydia trachomatis / pathogenicity
  • Gene Expression
  • Gene Order
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Mutation
  • Protein Transport
  • Proteomics* / methods
  • Species Specificity
  • Substrate Specificity
  • Yersinia pseudotuberculosis / genetics
  • Yersinia pseudotuberculosis / metabolism


  • Bacterial Secretion Systems