Intracellular targeting of exoenzyme S of Pseudomonas aeruginosa via type III-dependent translocation induces phagocytosis resistance, cytotoxicity and disruption of actin microfilaments


Elisabet Frithz-Lindsten , E-mail; Tel. (90) 106812; Fax (90) 106806.


Exoenzyme S (ExoS) is an ADP-ribosyltransferase secreted by the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The amino-terminal half of ExoS exhibits homology to the YopE cytotoxin of pathogenic Yersinia. Recently, YopE was found to be translocated into the host cell by a bacteria–cell contact-dependent mechanism involving the ysc-encoded type III secretion system. By using an approach in which exoS was expressed in different strains of Yersinia, including secretion and translocation mutants, we could demonstrate that ExoS was secreted and translocated into HeLa cells by a similar mechanism to that described previously for YopE. Similarly to YopE, the presence of ExoS in the host cell elicited a cytotoxic response, correlating with disruption of the actin microfilament structure. A similar cytotoxic response was also induced by a mutated form of ExoS with a more than 2000-fold reduced ADP-ribosyltransferase activity. However, the enzymatically active ExoS elicited a more definite rounding up of the HeLa cells, which also correlated with decreased viability of the cells after prolonged infection compared with cells infected with strains expressing mutated ExoS or YopE. This suggests that ExoS can act through two different mechanisms on the host cell. The expression of ExoS by Yersinia also mediated an anti-phagocytic effect on macrophages. In addition, we present evidence that extracellularly located P. aeruginosa is able to target ExoS into eukaryotic cells. Taken together, our data suggest that P. aeruginosa, by analogy with Yersinia, targets virulence proteins into the eukaryotic cytosol via a type III secretion-dependent mechanism as part of an anti-phagocytic strategy.