McPhee, J. B., Mena, P., Bliska, J. B.
The YopM protein of Yersinia sp. is a type III secreted effector that is required for virulence in murine models of infection. YopM has previously been shown to contain leucine-rich repeats (LRRs) and to interact with two host kinases, RSK1 and PRK2, although the consequence of these interactions is unknown. A series of YopM proteins missing different numbers of LRRs or a C-terminal domain were produced and used for in vitro binding reactions to map domains required for interaction with RSK1 and PRK2. A C-terminal domain of YopM (from LRR12 to the C terminus) was shown to be required for interaction with RSK1, while an internal portion encompassing LRR6 to LRR15 was shown to be required for interaction with PRK2. The virulence of a Yersinia pseudotuberculosis yopM mutant in mice via an intravenous route of infection was significantly attenuated. At day 4 postinfection, there were significantly increased levels of gamma interferon and reduced levels of interleukin-18 (IL-18) and IL-10 in the serum of the yopM-infected mice compared to that of mice infected with the wild type, suggesting that YopM action alters the balance of these key cytokines to promote virulence. The PRK2 and RSK1 interaction domains of YopM were both required for IL-10 induction in vivo, irrespective of splenic colonization levels. In an orogastric model of Y. pseudotuberculosis infection, a yopM mutant was defective in dissemination from the intestine to the spleen and significantly reduced in virulence. In addition, Y. pseudotuberculosis mutants expressing YopM proteins unable to interact with either RSK1 (YopM12-C) or PRK2 (YopM6-15) were defective for virulence in this assay, indicating that both interaction domains are important for YopM to promote pathogenesis.