Species-specific secretion of ESX-5 type VII substrates is determined by the linker 2 of EccC5

Catalin M Bunduc, Roy Ummels, Wilbert Bitter, Edith N G Houben

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Mycobacteria use type VII secretion systems (T7SSs) to translocate a wide range of proteins across their diderm cell envelope. These systems, also called ESX systems, are crucial for the viability and/or virulence of mycobacterial pathogens, including Mycobacterium tuberculosis and the fish pathogen Mycobacterium marinum. We have previously shown that the M. tuberculosis ESX-5 system is unable to fully complement secretion in an M. marinum esx-5 mutant, suggesting species specificity in secretion. In this study, we elaborated on this observation and established that the membrane ATPase EccC5 , possessing four (putative) nucleotide-binding domains (NBDs), is responsible for this. By creating M. marinum-M. tuberculosis EccC5 chimeras, we observed both in M. marinum and in M. tuberculosis that secretion specificity of PE_PGRS proteins depends on the presence of the cognate linker 2 domain of EccC5 . This region connects NBD1 and NBD2 of EccC5 and is responsible for keeping NBD1 in an inhibited state. Notably, the ESX-5 substrate EsxN, predicted to bind to NBD3 on EccC5 , showed a distinct secretion profile. These results indicate that linker 2 is involved in species-specific substrate recognition and might therefore be an additional substrate recognition site of EccC5 .

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-76
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Microbiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2020

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