The related effector proteins SopD and SopD2 from Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium contribute to virulence during systemic infection of mice
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Salmonella resides within host cells in a vacuole that it modifies through the action of virulence proteins called effectors. Here we examined the role of two related effectors, SopD and SopD2, in Salmonella pathogenesis. Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium (S. Typhimurium) mutants lacking either sopD or sopD2 were attenuated for replication in the spleens of infected mice when competed against wild-type bacteria in mixed infection experiments. A double mutant lacking both effector genes did not display an additive attenuation of virulence in these experiments. The double mutant also competed equally with both of the single mutants. Deletion of either effector impaired bacterial replication in mouse macrophages but not human epithelial cells. Deletion of sopD2 impaired Salmonella's ability to form tubular membrane filaments [Salmonella-induced filaments (Sifs)] in infected cells; the number of Sifs decreased, whereas the number of pseudo-Sifs (thought to be a precursor of Sifs) was increased. Transfection of HeLa cells with the effector SifA induced the formation of Sif-like tubules and these were observed in greater size and number after co-transfection of SifA with SopD2. In infected cells, SifA and SopD2 were localized both to Sifs and to pseudo-Sifs. In contrast, deletion of sopD had no effect on Sif formation. Our results indicate that both SopD and SopD2 contribute to virulence in mice and suggest a functional relationship between these two proteins during systemic infection of the host.