Salmonella Typhimurium combats phagocytic superoxide by producing the periplasmic superoxide dismutase, SodCI. The homologous protein, SodCII, is also produced during infection, but does not contribute to virulence. The proteins physically differ in that SodCI is dimeric, protease resistant and non-covalently tethered within the periplasm. Conversely, SodCII is a protease-sensitive monomer that is released normally from the periplasm by osmotic shock. To identify which properties correlate with virulence, we constructed over 20 enzymatically functional hybrid SodC proteins and assayed them for protease susceptibility, release by osmotic shock, multimerization and affinity for metal cofactors. Protease susceptibility maps to the C-terminus of SodCII, while SodCI residues 120-131 are required for tethering. A protease-resistant SodCII hybrid was able to substitute for SodCI during infection. Interestingly, a tethered but protease-sensitive SodCII hybrid was also able to confer protection. Thus, either tethering or protease resistance is sufficient for a SodC to function during infection. These results support our model that in the macrophage, the outer membrane of Salmonella is partially disrupted by antimicrobial peptides. Periplasmic proteins, including SodCII, are released and/or phagocytic proteases gain access. SodCI is both tethered within the periplasm and protease resistant, thereby surviving to detoxify superoxide.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology