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American Society for Microbiology, mBio, 4(5), p. e01148-14-e01148-14

DOI: 10.1128/mbio.01148-14



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A New Method To Determine In Vivo Interactomes Reveals Binding of the Legionella pneumophila Effector PieE to Multiple Rab GTPases

This paper is made freely available by the publisher.
This paper is made freely available by the publisher.

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Legionella pneumophila, the causative agent of Legionnaires’ disease, uses the Dot/Icm type IV secretion system (T4SS) to translocate more than 300 effectors into host cells, where they subvert host cell signaling. The function and host cell targets of most effectors remain unknown. PieE is a 69-kDa Dot/Icm effector containing three coiled-coil (CC) regions and 2 transmembrane (TM) helices followed by a fourth CC region. Here, we report that PieE dimerized by an interaction between CC3 and CC4. We found that ectopically expressed PieE localized to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and induced the formation of organized smooth ER, while following infection PieE localized to the Legionella-containing vacuole (LCV). To identify the physiological targets of PieE during infection, we established a new purification method for which we created an A549 cell line stably expressing the Escherichia coli biotin ligase BirA and infected the cells with L. pneumophila expressing PieE fused to a BirA-specific biotinylation site and a hexahistidine tag. Following tandem Ni2+ nitrilotriacetic acid (NTA) and streptavidin affinity chromatography, the effector-target complexes were analyzed by mass spectrometry. This revealed interactions of PieE with multiple host cell proteins, including the Rab GTPases 1a, 1b, 2a, 5c, 6a, 7, and 10. Binding of the Rab GTPases, which was validated by yeast two-hybrid binding assays, was mediated by the PieE CC1 and CC2. In summary, using a novel, highly specific strategy to purify effector complexes from infected cells, which is widely applicable to other pathogens, we identified PieE as a multidomain LCV protein with promiscuous Rab GTPase-binding capacity.