The obligate intracellular bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis rapidly induces its own entry into host cells. Initial attachment is mediated by electrostatic interactions to heparan sulfate moieties on the host cell, followed by irreversible binding to an unknown secondary receptor. This secondary binding leads to the recruitment of actin to the site of attachment, formation of an actin-rich, pedestal-like structure, and finally internalization of the bacteria. How chlamydial induce this process is unknown. We have identified a high-molecular-mass tyrosine-phosphorylated protein that is rapidly phosphorylated on attachment to the host cell. Immunoelectron microscopy studies revealed that this tyrosine-phosphorylated protein is localized to the cytoplasmic face of the plasma membrane at the site of attachment of surface-associated chlamydiae. The phosphoprotein was isolated by immunoprecipitation with the antiphosphotyrosine antibody 4G10 and identified as the chlamydial protein CT456, a hypothetical protein with unknown function. The chlamydial protein (Tarp) appears to be translocated into the host cell by type III secretion because it is exported in a Yersinia heterologous expression assay. Phosphotyrosine signaling across the plasma membrane preceded the recruitment of actin to the site of chlamydial attachment and may represent the initial signal transduced from pathogen to the host cell. These results suggest that C. trachomatis internalization is mediated by a chlamydial type III-secreted effector protein.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - Jul 6 2004|
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