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Bats, Simon H.; Berge, Celia; Coombs, Nina; Terradot, Laurent; Josenhans, Christine (2018): Biochemical characterization of the Helicobacter pylori Cag Type 4 Secretion System protein CagN and its interaction partner CagM. In: International Journal of Medical Microbiology, Vol. 308, No. 4: pp. 425-437
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Highly virulent Helicobacter pylori strains contain the cag pathogenicity island (cagPAI). It codes for about 30 proteins forming a type IV secretion system (T4SS) which translocates the pro-inflammatory protein CagA into epithelial host cells. While CagA and various other Cag proteins have been extensively studied, several cagPAI proteins are poorly characterized or of unknown function. CagN (HP0538) is of unknown function but highly conserved in the cagPAI suggesting an important role. cagM (HP0537) is the first gene of the cagMN operon and its product is part of the CagT4SS core complex. Both proteins do not have detectable homologs in other type IV secretion systems. We have characterized the biochemical and structural properties of CagN and CagM and their interaction. We demonstrate by circular dichroism, Multi-Angle Light Scattering (MALS) and small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) that CagN is a folded, predominantly monomeric protein with an elongated shape in solution. CagM is folded and forms predominantly dimers that are also elongated in solution. We found by various in vivo and in vitro methods that CagN and CagM directly interact with each other. CagM self-interacts stably with a low nanomolar Kip and can form stable multimers. Finally, in vivo experiments show that deletion of CagM reduces the amounts of CagN and other outer CagPAI proteins in H. pylori cells.