2014 Volume 60 Issue 3 Pages 95-100
Bacterial tail-specific proteases (Tsps) have been attributed a wide variety of functions including intracellular virulence, cell wall morphology, proteolytic signal cascades and stress response. This study tested the hypothesis that Tsp has a key function for the transmissive form of Legionella pneumophila. A tsp mutant was generated in Legionella pneumophila 130b and the characteristics of this strain and the isogenic wild-type were examined using a range of growth and proteomic analyses. Recombinant Tsp protein was also produced and analyzed. The L. pneumophila tsp mutant showed no defect in growth on rich media or during thermo-osmotic stress conditions. In addition, no defects in cellular morphology were observed when the cells were examined using transmission electron microscopy. Purified recombinant Tsp was found to be an active protease with a narrow substrate range. Proteome analysis using iTRAQ (5% coverage of the proteome) found that, of those proteins detected, only 5 had different levels in the tsp mutant compared to the wild type. ACP (Acyl Carrier Protein), which has a key role for Legionella differentiation to the infectious form, was reduced in the tsp mutant; however, tsp− was able to infect and replicate inside macrophages to the same extent as the wild type. Combined, these data demonstrate that Tsp is a protease but is not essential for Legionella growth or cell infection. Thus, Tsp may have functional redundancy in Legionella.