Identification and functional characterization of the novel Edwardsiella tarda effector EseJ

Hai Xia Xie, Jin Fang Lu, Ying Zhou, Jia Yi, Xiu Jun Yu*, Ka Yin Leung, Pin Nie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Edwardsiella tarda is a Gram-negative enteric pathogen that causes hemorrhagic septicemia in fish and gastro- and extraintestinal infections in humans. The type III secretion system (T3SS) of E. tarda has been identified as a key virulence factor that contributes to pathogenesis in fish. However, little is known about the associated effectors translocated by this T3SS. In this study, by comparing the profile of secreted proteins of the wild-type PPD130/91 and its T3SS ATPase ΔesaN mutant, we identified a new effector by matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry. This effector consists of 1,359 amino acids, sharing high sequence similarity with Orf29/30 of E. tarda strain EIB202, and is renamed EseJ. The secretion and translocation of EseJ depend on the T3SS. A ΔeseJ mutant strain adheres to epithelioma papillosum of carp (EPC) cells 3 to 5 times more extensively than the wild-type strain does. EseJ inhibits bacterial adhesion to EPC cells from within bacterial cells. Importantly, the ΔeseJ mutant strain does not replicate efficiently in EPC cells and fails to replicate in J774A.1 macrophages. In infected J774A.1 macrophages, the ΔeseJ mutant elicits higher production of reactive oxygen species than wild-type E. tarda. The replication defect is consistent with the attenuation of the ΔeseJ mutant in the blue gourami fish model: the 50% lethal dose (LD50) of the ΔeseJ mutant is 2.34 times greater than that of the wild type, and the ΔeseJ mutant is less competitive than the wild type in mixed infection. Thus, EseJ represents a novel effector that contributes to virulence by reducing bacterial adhesion to EPC cells and facilitating intracellular bacterial replication.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1650-1660
Number of pages11
JournalInfection and Immunity
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


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