Discovery of Ubiquitin Deamidases in the Pathogenic Arsenal of Legionella pneumophila

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Legionella pneumophila translocates the largest known arsenal of over 330 pathogenic factors, called “effectors,” into host cells during infection, enabling L. pneumophila to establish a replicative niche inside diverse amebas and human macrophages. Here, we reveal that the L. pneumophila effectors MavC (Lpg2147) and MvcA (Lpg2148) are structural homologs of cycle inhibiting factor (Cif) effectors and that the adjacent gene, lpg2149, produces a protein that directly inhibits their activity. In contrast to canonical Cifs, both MavC and MvcA contain an insertion domain and deamidate the residue Gln40 of ubiquitin but not Gln40 of NEDD8. MavC and MvcA are functionally diverse, with only MavC interacting with the human E2-conjugating enzyme UBE2N (Ubc13). MavC deamidates the UBE2N∼Ub conjugate, disrupting Lys63 ubiquitination and dampening NF-κB signaling. Combined, our data reveal a molecular mechanism of host manipulation by pathogenic bacteria and highlight the complex regulatory mechanisms integral to L. pneumophila's pathogenic strategy. Legionella pneumophila, possessing the largest known arsenal of effectors, continues to reveal unique approaches to host cell control. Valleau et al. decrypt the functions of a trio of effectors, discovering a pair of ubiquitin-specific deamidases, their regulation by a neighboring dual-specificity protein inhibitor, and a mechanism of NF-κB suppression.




Valleau, D., Quaile, A. T., Cui, H., Xu, X., Evdokimova, E., Chang, C., … Savchenko, A. (2018). Discovery of Ubiquitin Deamidases in the Pathogenic Arsenal of Legionella pneumophila. Cell Reports, 23(2), 568–583.

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