Chlamydia trachomatis is a leading cause of genital and ocular infections for which no vaccine exists. Upon entry into host cells, C. trachomatis resides within a membrane-bound compartment—the inclusion—and secretes inclusion membrane proteins (Incs) that are thought to modulate the host-bacterium interface. To expand our understanding of Inc function(s), we subjected putative C. trachomatis Incs to affinity purification-mass spectroscopy (AP-MS). We identified Inc-human interactions for 38/58 Incs with enrichment in host processes consistent with Chlamydia's intracellular life cycle. There is significant overlap between Inc targets and viral proteins, suggesting common pathogenic mechanisms among obligate intracellular microbes. IncE binds to sorting nexins (SNXs) 5/6, components of the retromer, which relocalizes SNX5/6 to the inclusion membrane and augments inclusion membrane tubulation. Depletion of retromer components enhances progeny production, revealing that retromer restricts Chlamydia infection. This study demonstrates the value of proteomics in unveiling host-pathogen interactions in genetically challenging microbes.
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