The Legionella effector LtpM is a new type of phosphoinositide-activated glucosyltransferase

Nadezhda Levanova, Corinna Mattheis, Danielle Carson, Ka-Ning To, Thomas Jank, Gad Frankel, Klaus Aktories, Gunnar Neels Schroeder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
167 Downloads (Pure)


Legionella pneumophila causes Legionnaires' disease, a severe form of pneumonia. L. pneumophila translocates more than 300 effectors into host cells via its Dot/Icm type IV secretion system to enable its replication in target cells. Here, we studied the effector LtpM, which is encoded in a recombination hot spot in L. pneumophila Paris. We show that a C-terminal phosphoinositol-3-phosphate (PI3P)-binding domain, also found in otherwise unrelated effectors, targets LtpM to the Legionella-containing vacuole and to early and late endosomes. LtpM expression in yeast caused cytotoxicity. Sequence comparison and structural homology modeling of the N-terminal domain of LtpM uncovered a remote similarity to the glycosyltransferase (GT) toxin PaTox from the bacterium Photorhabdus asymbiotica; however, instead of the canonical DxD motif of GT-A type glycosyltransferases, essential for enzyme activity and divalent cation coordination, we found that a DxN motif is present in LtpM. Using UDP-glucose as sugar donor, we show that purified LtpM nevertheless exhibits glucohydrolase and autoglucosylation activity in vitro and demonstrate that PI3P binding activates LtpM's glucosyltransferase activity toward protein substrates. Substitution of the aspartate or the asparagine in the DxN motif abolished the activity of LtpM. Moreover, whereas all glycosyltransferase toxins and effectors identified so far depend on the presence of divalent cations, LtpM is active in their absence. Proteins containing LtpM-like GT domains are encoded in the genomes of other L. pneumophila isolates and species, suggesting that LtpM is the first member of a novel family of glycosyltransferase effectors employed to subvert hosts.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Journal of biological chemistry
Early online date20 Dec 2018
Publication statusPublished - 22 Feb 2019

Bibliographical note

Published under license by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.


Dive into the research topics of 'The Legionella effector LtpM is a new type of phosphoinositide-activated glucosyltransferase'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this