Localization of Chlamydia trachomatis hypothetical protein CT311 in host cell cytoplasm

Lei Lei, Manli Qi, Nicole Budrys, Robert Schenken, Guangming Zhong

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25 Scopus citations


The chlamydia-specific hypothetical protein CT311 was detected both inside and outside of the chlamydial inclusions in Chlamydia trachomatis-infected cells. The extra-inclusion CT311 molecules were distributed in the host cell cytoplasm with a pattern similar to that of CPAF, a known Chlamydia-secreted protease. The detection of CT311 was specific since the anti-CT311 antibody labeling was only removed by absorption with CT311 but not CPAF fusion proteins. In addition, both anti-CT311 and anti-CPAF antibodies only detected their corresponding endogenous proteins without cross-reacting with each other or any other antigens in the whole cell lysates of C. trachomatis-infected cells. Although both CT311 and CPAF proteins were first detected 12 h after infection, localization of CT311 into host cell cytosol was delayed until 24 h while CPAF secretion into host cell cytosol was already obvious by 18 h after infection. The host cell cytosolic localization of CT311 was further confirmed in human primary cells. CT311 was predicted to contain an N-terminal secretion signal sequence and the CT311 signal sequence directed secretion of PhoA into bacterial periplasmic region in a heterologous assay system, suggesting that a sec-dependent pathway may play a role in the secretion of CT311 into host cell cytosol. This hypothesis is further supported by the observation that secretion of CT311 in Chlamydia-infected cells was blocked by a C16 compound known to inhibit signal peptidase I. These findings have provided important molecular information for further understanding the C. trachomatis pathogenic mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-109
Number of pages9
JournalMicrobial Pathogenesis
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2011


  • Chlamydia trachomatis
  • Hypothetical CT311
  • Secretion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Microbiology


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