• 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.
    • Comparative analysis of the secretion capability of early and late flagellar type III secretion substrates.

      Singer, Hanna M; Erhardt, Marc; Hughes, Kelly T; Helmholtz Centre for ifection research, Innhoffenstr. 7, D38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2014-08)
      A remarkable feature of the flagellar-specific type III secretion system (T3SS) is the selective recognition of a few substrate proteins among the many thousand cytoplasmic proteins. Secretion substrates are divided into two specificity classes: early substrates secreted for hook-basal body (HBB) construction and late substrates secreted after HBB completion. Secretion was reported to require a disordered N-terminal secretion signal, mRNA secretion signals within the 5'-untranslated region (5'-UTR) and for late substrates, piloting proteins known as the T3S chaperones. Here, we utilized translational β-lactamase fusions to probe the secretion efficacy of the N-terminal secretion signal of fourteen secreted flagellar substrates in Salmonella enterica. We observed a surprising variety in secretion capability between flagellar proteins of the same secretory class. The peptide secretion signals of the early-type substrates FlgD, FlgF, FlgE and the late-type substrate FlgL were analysed in detail. Analysing the role of the 5'-UTR in secretion of flgB and flgE revealed that the native 5'-UTR substantially enhanced protein translation and secretion. Based on our data, we propose a multicomponent signal that drives secretion via the flagellar T3SS. Both mRNA and peptide signals are recognized by the export apparatus and together with substrate-specific chaperones allowing for targeted secretion of flagellar substrates.
    • Variability in bacterial flagella re-growth patterns after breakage.

      Paradis, Guillaume; Chevance, Fabienne F V; Liou, Willisa; Renault, Thibaud T; Hughes, Kelly T; Rainville, Simon; Erhardt, Marc; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr.7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-04-28)
      Many bacteria swim through liquids or crawl on surfaces by rotating long appendages called flagella. Flagellar filaments are assembled from thousands of subunits that are exported through a narrow secretion channel and polymerize beneath a capping scaffold at the tip of the growing filament. The assembly of a flagellum uses a significant proportion of the biosynthetic capacities of the cell with each filament constituting ~1% of the total cell protein. Here, we addressed a significant question whether a flagellar filament can form a new cap and resume growth after breakage. Re-growth of broken filaments was visualized using sequential 3-color fluorescent labeling of filaments after mechanical shearing. Differential electron microscopy revealed the formation of new cap structures on broken filaments that re-grew. Flagellar filaments are therefore able to re-grow if broken by mechanical shearing forces, which are expected to occur frequently in nature. In contrast, no re-growth was observed on filaments that had been broken using ultrashort laser pulses, a technique allowing for very local damage to individual filaments. We thus conclude that assembly of a new cap at the tip of a broken filament depends on how the filament was broken.