A surprising sweetener from enteropathogenic Escherichia coli

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Infections with enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) are remarkably devoid of gut inflammation and necrotic damage compared to infections caused by invasive pathogens such as Salmonella and Shigella. Recently, we observed that EPEC blocks cell death using the type III secretion system (T3SS) effector NleB. NleB mediated post-translational modification of death domain containing adaptor proteins by the covalent attachment of N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc) to a conserved arginine in the death domain. N-linked glycosylation of arginine has not previously been reported in mammalian cell biology and the precise biochemistry of this modification is not yet defined. Although the addition of a single GlcNAc to arginine is a seemingly slight alteration, the impact of NleB is considerable as arginine in this location is critical for death domain interactions and death receptor induced apoptosis. Hence, by blocking cell death, NleB promotes enterocyte survival and thereby prolongs EPEC attachment to the gut epithelium.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)766-769
Number of pages4
JournalGut Microbes
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Coli
  • Colitis
  • Death domain
  • Enteropathogenic E
  • Fas ligand
  • Glycosyltransferase
  • T3SS

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