Chlamydial CT441 is a PDZ domain-containing tail-specific protease that interferes with the NF-kappaB pathway of immune response.
Chlamydia species are bacterial pathogens that affect over 140 million individuals worldwide. Ocular infection by Chlamydia trachomatis is the leading cause of preventable blindness, and urogenital tract infection by Chlamydia causes sexually transmitted disease. As obligate intracellular organisms, Chlamydia species have evolved mechanisms to evade the host immune system, including the degradation of the transcription factors regulatory factor X5 and upstream stimulation factor 1, which are required for the expression of major histocompatibility complex molecules I and II by CPAF and cleavage of p65 of the NF-kappaB pathway by the encoded CT441 protein. Here, we report the characterization of CT441 as a tail-specific protease. CT441 contains a PDZ domain of protein-protein interactions and a Ser/Lys dyad catalytic unit. Mutation at either Ser455 or Lys481 in the active site ablated CT441 activity of p65 cleavage. In addition, we found that the production of CT441 Tsp, which was detected at the middle and late stages of an infection, correlated with p65 cleavage activity. In addition to high homology, human and mouse p65 proteins also contain an identical C-terminal tail of 22 amino acid (aa) residues. However, only human p65 was susceptible to cleavage. Using molecular biology approaches, we mapped the p65 cleavage site(s) to a region that differs from that of mouse p65 by 6 aa residues. Additionally, the substitution of T352 with a proline inhibited p65 cleavage. Together, the study demonstrates that CT441 is a tail-specific protease that is capable of interfering with the NF-kappaB pathway of host antimicrobial and inflammatory responses.
Lad, SP; Yang, G; Scott, DA; Wang, G; Nair, P; Mathison, J; Reddy, VS; Li, E
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