Identification of putative effectors of the Type IV secretion system from the Wolbachia endosymbiont of Brugia malayi

PLoS One. 2018 Sep 27;13(9):e0204736. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0204736. eCollection 2018.

Abstract

Wolbachia is an unculturable, intracellular bacterium that persists within an extremely broad range of arthropod and parasitic nematode hosts, where it is transmitted maternally to offspring via vertical transmission. In the filarial nematode Brugia malayi, a causative agent of human lymphatic filariasis, Wolbachia is an endosymbiont, and its presence is essential for proper nematode development, survival, and pathogenesis. While the elucidation of Wolbachia:nematode interactions that promote the bacterium's intracellular persistence is of great importance, research has been hampered due to the fact that Wolbachia cannot be cultured in the absence of host cells. The Wolbachia endosymbiont of B. malayi (wBm) has an active Type IV secretion system (T4SS). Here, we have screened 47 putative T4SS effector proteins of wBm for their ability to modulate growth or the cell biology of a typical eukaryotic cell, Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Five candidates strongly inhibited yeast growth upon expression, and 6 additional proteins showed toxicity in the presence of zinc and caffeine. Studies on the uptake of an endocytic vacuole-specific fluorescent marker, FM4-64, identified 4 proteins (wBm0076 wBm00114, wBm0447 and wBm0152) involved in vacuole membrane dynamics. The WAS(p)-family protein, wBm0076, was found to colocalize with yeast cortical actin patches and disrupted actin cytoskeleton dynamics upon expression. Deletion of the Arp2/3-activating protein, Abp1p, provided resistance to wBm0076 expression, suggesting a role for wBm0076 in regulating eukaryotic actin dynamics and cortical actin patch formation. Furthermore, wBm0152 was found to strongly disrupt endosome:vacuole cargo trafficking in yeast. This study provides molecular insight into the potential role of the T4SS in the Wolbachia endosymbiont:nematode relationship.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Proteins* / biosynthesis
  • Bacterial Proteins* / genetics
  • Brugia malayi / microbiology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial / physiology*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism
  • Symbiosis*
  • Type IV Secretion Systems* / genetics
  • Type IV Secretion Systems* / metabolism
  • Wolbachia* / genetics
  • Wolbachia* / metabolism

Substances

  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Type IV Secretion Systems