BtcA, A class IA type III chaperone, interacts with the BteA N-terminal domain through a globular/non-globular mechanism. Academic Article uri icon


  • Bordetella pertussis, the etiological agent of "whooping cough" disease, utilizes the type III secretion system (T3SS) to deliver a 69 kDa cytotoxic effector protein, BteA, directly into the host cells. As with other T3SS effectors, prior to its secretion BteA binds BtcA, a 13.9 kDa protein predicted to act as a T3SS class IA chaperone. While this interaction had been characterized for such effector-chaperone pairs in other pathogens, it has yet to be fully investigated in Bordetella. Here we provide the first biochemical proof that BtcA is indeed a class IA chaperone, responsible for the binding of BteA's N-terminal domain. We bring forth extensive evidence that BtcA binds its substrate effector through a dual-interface binding mechanism comprising of non-globular and bi-globular interactions at a moderate micromolar level binding affinity. We demonstrate that the non-globular interactions involve the first 31 N-terminal residues of BteA287 and their removal leads to destabilization of the effector-chaperone complex and lower binding affinities to BtcA. These findings represent an important first step towards a molecular understanding of BteA secretion and cell entry.

publication date

  • January 1, 2013