Polar delivery of Legionella type IV secretion system substrates is essential for virulence [Microbiology]
A recurrent emerging theme is the targeting of proteins to subcellular microdomains within bacterial cells, particularly to the poles. In most cases, it has been assumed that this localization is critical to the protein’s function. Legionella pneumophila uses a type IVB secretion system (T4BSS) to export a large number of protein substrates into the cytoplasm of host cells. Here we show that the Legionella export apparatus is localized to the bacterial poles, as is consistent with many T4SS substrates being retained on the phagosomal membrane adjacent to the poles of the bacterium. More significantly, we were able to demonstrate that polar secretion of substrates is critically required for Legionella’s alteration of the host endocytic pathway, an activity required for this pathogen’s virulence.
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