Chlamydiae are obligate intracellular pathogens that efficiently induce their endocytosis by susceptible eukaryotic host cells. Recently, a Chlamydia trachomatis type III secreted effector protein, Tarp, was found to be translocated and tyrosine phosphorylated at the site of entry and associated with the recruitment of actin that coincides with endocytosis. C. trachomatis Tarp possesses up to six direct repeats of approximately 50 amino acids each. The majority of the tyrosine residues are found within this repeat region. Here we have ectopically expressed distinct domains of Tarp in HeLa 229 cells and demonstrated that tyrosine phosphorylation occurs primarily within the repeat region, while recruitment of actin is mediated by the C-terminal domain of the protein. A comparison of other sequenced chlamydial genomes revealed that each contains an ortholog of Tarp, although Chlamydia muridarum, Chlamydophila caviae, and Chlamydophila pneumoniae Tarp lack the large repeat region. Immunofluorescence and immunoblotting using an antiphosphotyrosine antibody show no evidence of phosphotyrosine at the site of entry of C. muridarum, C. caviae, and C. pneumoniae, although each species similarly recruits actin. Ectopic expression of full-length C. trachomatis and C. caviae Tarp confirmed that both recruit actin but only C. trachomatis Tarp is tyrosine phosphorylated. The data indicate that the C-terminal domain of Tarp is essential for actin recruitment and that tyrosine phosphorylation may not be an absolute requirement for actin recruitment. The results further suggest the potential for additional, unknown signal transduction pathways associated specifically with C. trachomatis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases