Legionella pneumophila is a ubiquitous inhabitant of environmental water reservoirs. The bacteria infect a wide variety of protozoa and, after accidental inhalation, human alveolar macrophages, which can lead to severe pneumonia. The capability to thrive in phagocytic hosts is dependent on the Dot/Icm type IV secretion system (T4SS), which translocates multiple effector proteins into the host cell. In this study, we determined the draft genome sequence of L. pneumophila strain 130b (Wadsworth). We found that the 130b genome encodes a unique set of T4SSs, namely, the Dot/Icm T4SS, a Trb-1-like T4SS, and two Lvh T4SS gene clusters. Sequence analysis substantiated that a core set of 107 Dot/Icm T4SS effectors was conserved among the sequenced L. pneumophila strains Philadelphia-1, Lens, Paris, Corby, Alcoy, and 130b. We also identified new effector candidates and validated the translocation of 10 novel Dot/Icm T4SS effectors that are not present in L. pneumophila strain Philadelphia-1. We examined the prevalence of the new effector genes among 87 environmental and clinical L. pneumophila isolates. Five of the new effectors were identified in 34 to 62% of the isolates, while less than 15% of the strains tested positive for the other five genes. Collectively, our data show that the core set of conserved Dot/Icm T4SS effector proteins is supplemented by a variable repertoire of accessory effectors that may partly account for differences in the virulences and prevalences of particular L. pneumophila strains.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology