Modulation of Virulence Factor Expression by Pathogen Target Cell Contact

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  30 Aug 1996:
Vol. 273, Issue 5279, pp. 1231-1233
DOI: 10.1126/science.273.5279.1231


Upon contact with the eukaryotic cell, Yersinia pseudotuberculosis increased the rate of transcription of virulence genes (yop), as determined by in situ monitoring of light emission from individual bacteria expressing luciferase under the control of the yopE promoter. The microbe-host interaction triggered export of LcrQ, a negative regulator of Yop expression, via the Yop-type III secretion system. The intracellular concentration of LcrQ was thereby lowered, resulting in increased expression of Yops. These results suggest a key role for the type III secretion system of pathogenic bacteria to coordinate secretion with expression of virulence factors after physical contact with the target cell.

Stay Connected to Science