Microtubule-Severing Activity of Shigella Is Pivotal for Intercellular Spreading

Science  10 Nov 2006:
Vol. 314, Issue 5801, pp. 985-989
DOI: 10.1126/science.1133174

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Some pathogenic bacteria actually invade the cytoplasm of their target host cells. Invasive bacteria acquire the propulsive force to move by recruiting actin and inducing its polymerization. Here we show that Shigella movement within the cytoplasm was severely hindered by microtubules and that the bacteria destroyed surrounding microtubules by secreting VirA by means of the type III secretion system. Degradation of microtubules by VirA was dependent on its α-tubulin–specific cysteine protease–like activity. virA mutants did not move within the host cytoplasm and failed to move into adjacent cells.

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