Exported proteins are integral to understanding the biology of bacterial organisms. They have special significance in pathogenesis research because they can mediate critical interactions between pathogens and eukaryotic cell surfaces. Further, they frequently serve as targets for vaccines and diagnostic tests. The commonly used genetic assays for identifying exported proteins use fusions to alkaline phosphatase or beta-lactamase. These systems are not ideal for identifying outer membrane proteins because they identify a large number of inner membrane proteins as well. We addressed this problem by developing a gene fusion system that preferentially identifies proteins that contain cleavable signal sequences and are released from the inner membrane. This system selects fusions that restore outer membrane localization to an amino terminal-truncated Yersinia pseudotuberculosis invasin derivative. In the present study, a variety of Salmonella typhimurium proteins that localize beyond the inner membrane were identified with gene fusions to this invasin derivative. Previously undescribed proteins identified include ones that share homology with components of fimbrial operons, multiple drug resistance efflux pumps and a haemolysin. All of the positive clones analysed contain cleavable signal sequences. Moreover, over 40% of the genes identified encode putative outer membrane proteins. This system has several features that may make it especially useful in the study of genetically intractable organisms.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology