Edwardsiella induces microtubule-severing in host epithelial cells

Priyanka Aggarwal, Lifan Wei, Yuping Cao, Qin Liu, Julian A. Guttman, Qiyao Wang, Ka Yin Leung*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Edwardsiella bacteria cause economic losses to a variety of commercially important fish globally. Human infections are rare and result in a gastroenteritis-like illness. Because these bacteria are evolutionarily related to other Enterobacteriaceae and the host cytoskeleton is a common target of enterics, we hypothesized that Edwardsiella may cause similar phenotypes. Here we use HeLa and Caco-2 infection models to show that microtubules are severed during the late infections. This microtubule alteration phenotype was not dependant on the type III or type VI secretion system (T3SS and T6SS) of the bacteria as ΔT3SS and ΔT6SS mutants of E. piscicida EIB202 and E. tarda ATCC15947 that lacks both also caused microtubule disassembly. Immunolocalization experiments showed the host katanin catalytic subunits A1 and A like 1 proteins at regions of microtubule severing, suggesting their involvement in the microtubule disassembly events. To identify bacterial components involved in this phenotype, we screened a 2,758 transposon library of E. piscicida EIB202 and found that 4 single mutations in the atpFHAGDC operon disrupted microtubule disassembly in HeLa cells. We then constructed three atp deletion mutants; they all could not disassemble host microtubules. This work provides the first clear evidence of host cytoskeletal alterations during Edwardsiella infections.

Original languageEnglish
Article number126325
JournalMicrobiological Research
StatePublished - Dec 2019


  • E. piscicida
  • Fish pathogen
  • Interaction with epithelial cells
  • Microtubule disassembly


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