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© 2016 Dubytska et al. Edwardsiella ictaluri, a major pathogen in channel catfish aquaculture, encodes a type III secretion system (T3SS) that is essential for intracellular replication and virulence. Previous work identified three putative T3SS effectors in E. ictaluri, and in silico analysis of the E. ictaluri genome identified six additional putative effectors, all located on the chromosome outside the T3SS pathogenicity island. To establish active translocation by the T3SS, we constructed translational fusions of each effector to the amino-terminal adenylate cyclase (AC) domain of the Bordetella pertussis adenylate cyclase toxin CyaA. When translocated through the membrane of the Edwardsiella-containing vacuole (ECV), the cyclic AMP produced by the AC domain in the presence of calmodulin in the host cell cytoplasm can be measured. Results showed that all nine effectors were translocated from E. ictaluri in the ECV to the cytoplasm of the host cells in the wild-type strain but not in a T3SS mutant, indicating that translocation is dependent on the T3SS machinery. This confirms that the E. ictaluri T3SS is similar to the Salmonella pathogenicity island 2 T3SS in that it translocates effectors through the membrane of the bacterial vacuole directly into the host cell cytoplasm. Additional work demonstrated that both initial acidification and subsequent neutralization of the ECV were necessary for effector translocation, except for two of them that did not require neutralization. Single-gene mutants constructed for seven of the individual effectors were all attenuated for replication in CCO cells, but only three were replication deficient in head kidney-derived macrophages (HKDM).

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