The Chlamydia trachomatis inclusion membrane protein CT006 associates with lipid droplets in eukaryotic cells

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Chlamydia trachomatis causes genital and ocular infections in humans. This bacterial pathogen multiplies exclusively within host cells in a characteristic vacuole (inclusion) and delivers proteins such as inclusion membrane proteins (Incs) into the host cell. Here, we identified CT006 as a novel C. trachomatis protein that when expressed ectopically eukaryotic cells can associate with lipid droplets (LDs). A screen using Saccharomyces cerevisiae identified two Incs causing vacuolar protein sorting defects and seven Incs showing tropism for eukaryotic organelles. Ectopic expression in yeast and mammalian cells of genes encoding different fragments of CT006 revealed tropism for the endoplasmic reticulum and LDs. We identified a LD-targeting region within the first 88 amino acid residues of CT006, and positively charged residues important for this targeting. Comparing with the parental wild-type strain, cells infected by a newly generated C. trachomatis strain overproducing CT006 with a double hemagglutinin tag showed a slight increase in the area occupied by LDs within the inclusion region. However, we could not correlate this effect with the LD-targeting regions within CT006. We further showed that both the amino and carboxy-terminal regions of CT006, flanking the Inc-characteristic bilobed hydrophobic domain, are exposed to the host cell cytosol during C. trachomatis infection, supporting their availability to interact with host cell targets. Altogether, our data suggest that CT006 might participate in the interaction of LDs with C. trachomatis inclusions.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0264292
Pages (from-to)e0264292
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022


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