AMPylation of Rho GTPases subverts multiple host signaling processes [Microbiology]

October 9th, 2014 by Woolery, A. R., Yu, X., LaBaer, J., Orth, K.

Rho GTPases are frequent targets of virulence factors as they are keystone signaling molecules. Herein, we demonstrate that AMPylation of Rho GTPases by VopS is a multifaceted virulence mechanism that counters several host immunity strategies. Activation of NFκB, Erk and JNK kinase signaling pathways were inhibited in a VopS dependent manner during infection with Vibrio parahaemolyticus. Phosphorylation and degradation of IKBα were inhibited in the presence of VopS, as was nuclear translocation of the NFκB subunit p65. AMPylation also prevented the generation of superoxide by the phagocytic NADPH oxidase complex, potentially by inhibiting the interaction of Rac and p67. Furthermore, the interaction of GTPases with the E3 ubiquitin ligases cIAP1 and XIAP was hindered, leading to decreased degradation of Rac and RhoA during infection. Finally, we screened for novel Rac1 interactions using a nucleic acid programmable protein array and discovered that Rac1 binds to the protein C1QA, a protein known to promote immune signaling in the cytosol. Interestingly, this interaction was disrupted by AMPylation. We conclude that AMPylation of Rho Family GTPases by VopS results in diverse inhibitory consequences during infection beyond the most obvious phenotype, the collapse of the actin cytoskeleton.