Ehrlichia chaffeensis TRP120 interacts with a diverse array of eukaryotic proteins involved in transcription, signaling, and cytoskeleton organization.

Authors: Luo T, Kuriakose JA, Zhu B, Wakeel A, McBride JW.
Publisher/Year: Infect Immun. 2011 Nov;79(11):4382-91. Epub 2011 Aug 22.
Pub Med ID/Journal ID: PMID:21859857


Ehrlichia chaffeensis is an obligately intracellular bacterium that exhibits tropism for mononuclear phagocytes and survives by evading host cell defense mechanisms. Recently, molecular interactions between E. chaffeensis 47-kDa tandem repeat (TR) protein (TRP47) and the eukaryotic host cell have been described. In this investigation, yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) two-hybrid analysis demonstrated that E. chaffeensis-secreted tandem repeat protein 120 (TRP120) interacts with a diverse group of host cell proteins associated with major biological processes, including transcription and regulation, cell signaling, protein trafficking, and actin cytoskeleton organization. Twelve target proteins with the highest frequency of interaction with TRP120 were confirmed by cotransformation in yeast. Host targets, including human immunoglobulin lambda locus (IGL), cytochrome c oxidase subunit II (COX2), Golgi-associated gamma adaptin ear-containing ARF binding protein 1 (GGA1), polycomb group ring finger 5 (PCGF5), actin gamma 1 (ACTG1), and unc-13 homolog D (UNC13D; Caenorhabditis elegans), colocalized strongly with TRP120 in HeLa cells and with E. chaffeensis dense-cored morulae and areas adjacent to morulae in the host cytoplasm. The TR domain of TRP120 interacted only with PCGF5, indicating that distinct TRP120 domains contribute to specific host target interactions and that multiple domains are required to reconstitute TRP120 interactions with other host targets. Three previously defined molecular interactions between TRP47 and host proteins, PCGF5, IGLL1, and CAP1, were also associated with TRP120, demonstrating that molecular cross talk occurs between Ehrlichia TRPs and host targets. These findings further support the role of TRPs as effectors that reprogram the host cell.