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.
© 2013 Federation of European Microbiological Societies. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. All rights reserved.