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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Molecular and functional characterization of the Salmonella invasion gene invA: homology of InvA to members of a new protein family.

One of the earliest steps in the pathogenic cycle of the facultative intracellular pathogen Salmonella spp. is the invasion of the cells of the intestinal epithelium. We have previously identified a genetic locus, inv, that allows Salmonella spp. to enter cultured epithelial cells. invA is a member of this locus, and it is the first gene of an operon consisting of at least two additional invasion genes. We have constructed strains carrying nonpolar mutations in invA and examined the individual contribution of this gene to the invasion phenotype of Salmonella typhimurium. Nonpolar S. typhimurium invA mutants were deficient in invasion of cultured epithelial cells although they were fully capable of attaching to the same cells. In addition, unlike wild-type S. typhimurium, invA mutants did not alter the normal architecture of the microvilli of polarized epithelial cells nor did they cause any alterations in the distribution of actin microfilaments of infected cells. The invasion phenotype of invA mutants was readily rescued by wild-type S. typhimurium when cultured epithelial cells were simultaneously infected with both strains. On the contrary, in a similar experiment, the adherent Escherichia coli strain RDEC-1 was not internalized into cultured cells when coinfected with wild-type S. typhimurium. The invA locus was found to be located at about 59 min on the Salmonella chromosome, 7% linked to mutS. The nucleotide sequence of invA showed an open reading frame capable of encoding a polypeptide of 686 amino acids with eight possible membrane-spanning regions and a predicted molecular weight of 75,974. A protein of this size was visualized when invA was expressed in a bacteriophage T7 RNA polymerase-based expression system. The predicted sequence of InvA was found to be homologous to Caulobacter crescentus FlbF, Yersinia LcrD, Shigella flexneri VirH, and E. coli FlhA proteins. These proteins may form part of a family of proteins with a common function, quite possibly the translocation of specific proteins across the bacterial cell membrane.[1]


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