SseA, a key Salmonella virulence determinant, is a small, basic pl protein encoded within the Salmonella pathogenicity island 2 and serves as a type III secretion system chaperone for SseB and SseD. Both SseA partners are subunits of the surface-localized translocon module that delivers effectors into the host cell; SseB is predicted to compose the translocon sheath and SseD is a putative translocon pore subunit. In this study, SseA molecular interactions with its partners were characterized further. Yeast two-hybrid screens indicate that SseA binding requires a C-terminal domain within both partners. An additional central domain within SseD was found to influence binding. The SseA-binding region within SseB was found to encompass a predicted amphipathic helix of a type participating in coiled-coil interactions that are implicated in the assembly of translocon sheaths. Deletions that impinge upon this putative coiled-coiled domain prevent SseA binding, suggesting that SseA occupies a portion of the coiled-coil. SseA occupancy of this motif is envisioned to be sufficient to prevent premature SseB self-association inside bacteria. Domain mapping on the chaperone was also performed. A deletion of the SseA N-terminus, or site-directed mutations within this region, allowed stabilization of SseB, but its export was disrupted. Therefore, the N-terminus of SseA provides a function that is essential for SseB export, but dispensable for partner binding and stabilization.
ASJC Scopus subject areas