Actin Cross-Linking Effector Domain of the Vibrio vulnificus F-Type MARTX Toxin Dominates Disease Progression During Intestinal Infection

Patrick J. Woida, Giordan Kitts, Stephanie Shee, Adam Godzik, Karla J.F. Satchell*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Vibrio vulnificus is an opportunistic pathogen that causes gastroenteritis and septicemia in humans. The V. vulnificus multifunctional-autoprocessing repeats-in-toxin (MARTX) toxin is a pore-forming toxin that translocates multiple functionally independent effector domains into target cells and an essential virulence factor for fatal disease. The effector repertoire delivered and thus the mechanism of action of the toxin can differ dramatically across V. vulnificus isolates. Here, we utilize a strain of V. vulnificus that carries an F-type MARTX toxin that delivers an actin cross-linking domain (ACD) and four other effector domains. We demonstrate that ACD is the primary driver of virulence following intragastric infection and of bacterial dissemination to distal organs. We additionally show that ACD activates the transcription of intermediate early response genes in cultured intestinal epithelial cells (IECs). However, the genes activated by ACD are suppressed, at least in part, by the codelivered Ras/Rap1-specific endopeptidase (RRSP). The transcriptional response induced by strains translocating only RRSP results in a unique transcriptional profile, demonstrating that the transcriptional response to V. vulnificus is remodeled rather than simply suppressed by the MARTX toxin effector repertoire. Regardless, the transcriptional response in the intestinal tissue of infected mice is dominated by ACD-mediated induction of genes associated with response to tissue damage and is not impacted by RRSP or the three other effectors codelivered with ACD and RRSP. These data demonstrate that while other effectors do remodel early intestinal innate immune responses, ACD is the dominant driver of disease progression by ACD1 V. vulnificus during intestinal infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalInfection and immunity
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2022


  • Actin
  • Intestinal epithelial cells
  • Mouse
  • RNA-seq
  • Toxins
  • Vibrio vulnificus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology


Dive into the research topics of 'Actin Cross-Linking Effector Domain of the Vibrio vulnificus F-Type MARTX Toxin Dominates Disease Progression During Intestinal Infection'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this