We have previously characterized a non-O1, non-O139 Vibrio cholerae strain, AM-19226, that lacks the known virulence factors but contains components of a type III secretion system (T3SS). In this study, we demonstrated that the T3SS is functional and is required for intestinal colonization in the infant mouse model. We also identified VopF, which is conserved among T3SS-positive V. cholerae strains, as an effector containing both formin homology 1-like (FH1-like) and WASP homology 2 (WH2) domains. Translocation of VopF by V. cholerae or expression by transfection altered the actin cytoskeletal organization of the eukaryotic host cells. In vitro domain analysis indicated that both FH1-like and WH2 domains are required for actin nucleation and polymerization activity. These data correlate with in vivo data, suggesting that VopF-mediated alteration of actin polymerization homeostasis is required for efficient intestinal colonization by T3SS+ V. cholerae in the infant mouse model.
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