Chlamydia pneumoniae CopD Translocator Protein Plays a Critical Role in Type III Secretion (T3S) and Infection
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Pathogenic Gram-negative bacteria use type III secretion (T3S) to inject effector proteins into the host cell to create appropriate conditions for infection and intracellular replication. Chlamydia spp. are believed to use T3S to infect their host cell, and the translocator proteins are an essential component of this system. Chlamydia pneumoniae contains genes encoding two sets of translocator proteins; CopB and CopD, and CopB2 and CopD2. In this study, we identified novel interactions between CopD and three type III secretion proteins; namely, CopN, CdsN, and CdsF. We identified a CopD putative chaperone binding motif, PxLxxP, within the N-terminal region (CopD amino acids 120-125), which was necessary for interaction with its putative chaperone LcrH_1. Using size exclusion chromatography, we showed that CopD and LcrH_1 formed higher order structures in solution with CopD and LcrH_1 binding in a ratio of 1∶1, which is unique for T3SS translocator proteins. Lastly, we showed that antibodies to CopD reduced C. pneumoniae infectivity by >95%. Collectively, this data suggests that CopD plays a critical role in pathogenesis and likely functions as a hydrophobic translocator of the type III secretion system in Chlamydia pneumoniae.
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