• ATPase-Independent Type-III Protein Secretion in Salmonella enterica.

      Erhardt, Marc; Mertens, Max E; Fabiani, Florian D; Hughes, Kelly T (2014-11)
      Type-III protein secretion systems are utilized by gram-negative pathogens to secrete building blocks of the bacterial flagellum, virulence effectors from the cytoplasm into host cells, and structural subunits of the needle complex. The flagellar type-III secretion apparatus utilizes both the energy of the proton motive force and ATP hydrolysis to energize substrate unfolding and translocation. We report formation of functional flagella in the absence of type-III ATPase activity by mutations that increased the proton motive force and flagellar substrate levels. We additionally show that increased proton motive force bypassed the requirement of the Salmonella pathogenicity island 1 virulence-associated type-III ATPase for secretion. Our data support a role for type-III ATPases in enhancing secretion efficiency under limited secretion substrate concentrations and reveal the dispensability of ATPase activity in the type-III protein export process.
    • A flagellum-specific chaperone facilitates assembly of the core type III export apparatus of the bacterial flagellum.

      Fabiani, Florian D; Renault, Thibaud T; Peters, Britta; Dietsche, Tobias; Gálvez, Eric J C; Guse, Alina; Freier, Karen; Charpentier, Emmanuelle; Strowig, Till; Franz-Wachtel, Mirita; et al. (2017-08)
      Many bacteria move using a complex, self-assembling nanomachine, the bacterial flagellum. Biosynthesis of the flagellum depends on a flagellar-specific type III secretion system (T3SS), a protein export machine homologous to the export machinery of the virulence-associated injectisome. Six cytoplasmic (FliH/I/J/G/M/N) and seven integral-membrane proteins (FlhA/B FliF/O/P/Q/R) form the flagellar basal body and are involved in the transport of flagellar building blocks across the inner membrane in a proton motive force-dependent manner. However, how the large, multi-component transmembrane export gate complex assembles in a coordinated manner remains enigmatic. Specific for most flagellar T3SSs is the presence of FliO, a small bitopic membrane protein with a large cytoplasmic domain. The function of FliO is unknown, but homologs of FliO are found in >80% of all flagellated bacteria. Here, we demonstrate that FliO protects FliP from proteolytic degradation and promotes the formation of a stable FliP-FliR complex required for the assembly of a functional core export apparatus. We further reveal the subcellular localization of FliO by super-resolution microscopy and show that FliO is not part of the assembled flagellar basal body. In summary, our results suggest that FliO functions as a novel, flagellar T3SS-specific chaperone, which facilitates quality control and productive assembly of the core T3SS export machinery.