Vibrio type III effector VPA1380 is related to the cysteine protease domain of large bacterial toxins

PLoS One. 2014 Aug 6;9(8):e104387. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0104387. eCollection 2014.


Vibrio parahaemolyticus is a Gram-negative halophilic bacterium and one of the leading causes of food-borne gastroenteritis. Its genome harbors two Type III Secretion Systems (T3SS1 and T3SS2), but only T3SS2 is required for enterotoxicity seen in animal models. Effector proteins secreted from T3SS2 have been previously shown to promote colonization of the intestinal epithelium, invasion of host cells, and destruction of the epithelial monolayer. In this study, we identify VPA1380, a T3SS2 effector protein that is toxic when expressed in yeast. Bioinformatic analyses revealed that VPA1380 is highly similar to the inositol hexakisphosphate (IP6)-inducible cysteine protease domains of several large bacterial toxins. Mutations in conserved catalytic residues and residues in the putative IP6-binding pocket abolished toxicity in yeast. Furthermore, VPA1380 was not toxic in IP6 deficient yeast cells. Therefore, our findings suggest that VPA1380 is a cysteine protease that requires IP6 as an activator.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Secretion Systems / physiology*
  • Bacterial Toxins* / biosynthesis
  • Bacterial Toxins* / genetics
  • Cysteine Proteases* / biosynthesis
  • Cysteine Proteases* / genetics
  • Enzyme Activators / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression
  • Phytic Acid / metabolism*
  • Recombinant Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Recombinant Proteins / genetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism
  • Vibrio parahaemolyticus* / genetics
  • Vibrio parahaemolyticus* / metabolism
  • Vibrio parahaemolyticus* / pathogenicity


  • Bacterial Secretion Systems
  • Bacterial Toxins
  • Enzyme Activators
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Phytic Acid
  • Cysteine Proteases