The rhs genes are a family of enigmatic composite genes, widespread among Gram-negative bacteria. In this study, we characterized rhsT, a Pseudomonas aeruginosa rhs gene that encodes a toxic protein. Expression of rhsT was induced upon contact with phagocytic cells. The RhsT protein was exposed on the bacterial surface and translocated into phagocytic cells; these cells subsequently underwent inflammasome-mediated death. Moreover, RhsT enhanced host secretion of the potent proinflammatory cytokines IL-1β and IL-18 in an inflammasome-dependent manner. In a mouse model of acute pneumonia, infection with a P. aeruginosa strain lacking rhsT was associated with less IL-18 production, fewer recruited leukocytes, reduced pulmonary bacterial load, and enhanced animal survival. Thus, rhsT encodes a virulence determinant that activates the inflammasome.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - Jan 24 2012|
- YD repeat
- rhs element
ASJC Scopus subject areas