We previously showed that cytotoxic necrotizing factor 1 (CNF1) contributes to Escherichia coli K1 invasion of human brain microvascular endothelial cells (HBMEC) and interacts with the receptor on the surface of HBMEC. CNF1 is the cytoplasmic protein, and it remains incompletely understood how CNF1 is secreted across the inner and outer membranes in E. coli K1. In order to investigate the genetic determinants for secretion of CNF1 in E. coli K1, we performed Tn5 mutagenesis screening by applying β-lactamase as a reporter to monitor secretion of CNF1. We identified a Tn5 mutant that exhibited no β-lactamase activity in the culture supernatant and in which the mutated gene encodes a ferredoxin gene (fdx). In the fdx deletion mutant, there was no evidence of translocation of CNF1 into HBMEC. Western blot analysis of the fdx deletion mutant revealed that ferredoxin is involved in translocation of CNF1 across the cytoplasmic membrane. The fdx mutant exhibited significantly decreased invasion of HBMEC, similar to the decreased HBMEC invasion observed with the CNF1 mutant. The failures to secrete CNF1 and invade HBMEC of the fdx mutant were restored to the levels of the parent strain by complementation with fdx. These findings demonstrate for the first time that ferredoxin is involved in secretion of CNF1 across the inner membrane in meningitis-causing E. coli K1.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases