Brucella coopts the small GTPase Sar1 for intracellular replication

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Jean CelliJean-Pierre Gorvel


The pathogen Brucella abortus resides inside macrophages within a unique, replication-permissive organelle that is derived from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Although dependent on the Brucella type IV secretion system VirB, the mechanisms governing the biogenesis of this compartment remain elusive. Here, we investigated a putative role of the early secretory pathway in ER membrane accretion by the Brucella-containing vacuoles (BCVs). We show that BCVs interact with ER exit sites (ERES), and blockade of Sar1 activity, which disrupts ERES, prevents intracellular replication of Brucella. In cells expressing the dominant interfering form Sar1[T39N], BCVs do not acquire ER membranes, suggesting that they are unable to mature into replicative organelles. By contrast, treatments that block subsequent secretory events do not affect bacterial replication. We propose that Sar1-dependent ERES functions, but not subsequent secretory events, are essential for the biogenesis of the Brucella replicative compartment and, thus, bacterial replication. These results assign an essential role for Sar1 in pathogenesis of an intracellular bacterium.


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Brucellosis is a bacterial infection caused by members of the genus brucella and remains one of the world's major zoonotic diseases. Discover the latest research on Brucellosis here.

Brucellosis (ASM)

Brucellosis is a bacterial infection caused by members of the genus brucella and remains one of the world's major zoonotic diseases. Discover the latest research on Brucellosis here.