The Salmonella typhimurium type III secretion effector protein SifA is essential for inducing tubulation of the Salmonella phagosome and binds the mammalian kinesin-binding protein SKIP. Coexpression of SifA with the effector SseJ induced tubulation of mammalian cell endosomes, similar to that induced by Salmonella infection. Interestingly, GTP-bound RhoA, RhoB, and RhoC also induced endosomal tubulation when coexpressed with SseJ, indicating that SifA likely mimics or activates a RhoA family GTPase. The structure of SifA in complex with the PH domain of SKIP revealed that SifA has two distinct domains; the amino terminus binds SKIP, and the carboxyl terminus has a fold similar to SopE, a Salmonella effector with Rho GTPase guanine nucleotide exchange factor activity (GEF). Similar to GEFs, SifA interacted with GDP-bound RhoA, and purified SseJ and RhoA formed a protein complex, suggesting that SifA, SKIP, SseJ, and RhoA family GTPases cooperatively promote host membrane tubulation.
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