Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Plant Gene Expression Center

Title: A bacterial acetyltransferase destroys plant microtubule networks and blocks secretion)

item Lee, Ahy
item Hurley, B
item Felsensteiner, C
item Yea, C
item Ckurshumova, W
item Bartetzko, V
item Wang, P
item Quach, V
item Lewis, Jennifer
item Liu, Y
item Bornke, F
item Angers, S
item Wilde, A
item Guttman, D
item Desveaux, D

Submitted to: PLoS Pathogens
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/20/2011
Publication Date: 2/2/2012
Citation: Lee, A., Hurley, B., Felsensteiner, C., Yea, C., Ckurshumova, W., Bartetzko, V., Wang, P.W., Quach, V., Lewis, J.D., Liu, Y.C., Bornke, F., Angers, S., Wilde, A., Guttman, D.S., Desveaux, D. 2012. A bacterial acetyltransferase destroys plant microtubule networks and blocks secretion. PLoS Pathogens. 8(2): e1002523.

Interpretive Summary: Many bacterial pathogens disrupt key components of host physiology by injecting virulence proteins (or “effectors”) via a needle-like structure, called the type III secretion system, directly into eukaryotic cells. The YopJ / HopZ superfamily of type III secreted effector proteins is found in pathogens of both animals and plants providing an excellent opportunity to address how a family of type III secreted effectors can promote pathogenesis in hosts from two kingdoms. YopJ from the animal pathogen Yersinia pestis is an acetyltransferase that targets signaling components of innate immunity and prevents their activation. Here we show that HopZ1a, from the phytopathogen Pseudomonas syringae is an acetyltransferase that binds plant tubulin. Like YopJ, the eukaryotic cofactor phytic acid activates the acetyltransferase activity of HopZ1a. In addition, we demonstrate that activated HopZ1a can acetylate tubulin, a major constituent of the eukaryotic cytoskeleton. In plants, activated HopZ1a causes a dramatic destruction of microtubule networks, inhibits protein secretion, and ultimately suppresses cell wall-mediated defense. Our study emphasizes the functional diversification of this important type III effector family in plant and animal hosts using a conserved acetyltransferase activity.

Technical Abstract: The eukaryotic cytoskeleton is essential for structural support and intracellular transport, and is therefore a common target of animal pathogens. However, no phytopathogenic effector has yet been demonstrated to specifically target the plant cytoskeleton. Here we show that the Pseudomonas syringae type III secreted effector HopZ1a interacts with tubulin and polymerized microtubules. We demonstrate that HopZ1a is an acetyltransferase activated by the eukaryotic co-factor phytic acid. Activated HopZ1a acetylates itself and tubulin. The conserved autoacetylation site of the YopJ / HopZ superfamily, K289, plays a critical role in both the avirulence and virulence function of HopZ1a. Furthermore, HopZ1a requires its acetyltransferase activity to cause a dramatic decrease in Arabidopsis thaliana microtubule networks, disrupt the plant secretory pathway and suppress cell wall-mediated defense. Together, this study supports the hypothesis that HopZ1a promotes virulence through cytoskeletal and secretory disruption.

Last Modified: 05/22/2017
Footer Content Back to Top of Page