NleG proteins divide and conquer
Pathogenic Escherichia coli strains represent a persistent health risk worldwide, with the enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) strain O157:H7, in particular, responsible for many outbreaks. During infection of the gastrointestinal tract, EHEC injects pathogenic proteins called “effectors” into cells of the human intestinal lining to subvert normal host processes in benefit of the pathogen.
This was another fun and exciting collab with the Alexei Savchenko lab where we investigated the largest family of EHEC effectors, the NleG family, revealing them to have a distinct N-terminal domain that binds to specific human protein targets and causes their degradation via their conserved C-terminal E3 ubiquitin ligase domain during EHEC infection of human cells. This provides the first insight into the functional diversity of NleG effectors and will set the stage to understand their role in EHEC pathogenesis.