Secreted enzymatic activities of wild-type and pilD-deficient Legionella pneumophila

Virginia Aragon, Sherry Kurtz, Antje Flieger, Birgid Neumeister, Nicholas P. Cianciotto*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Legionella pneumophila, the agent of Legionnaires' disease, is an intracellular pathogen of protozoa and macrophages. Previously, we had determined that the Legionella pilD gene is involved in type IV pilus biogenesis, type II protein secretion, intracellular infection, and virulence. Since the loss of pill and a protease do not account for the infection defect exhibited by a pilD-deficient strain, we sought to define other secreted proteins absent in the mutant. Based upon the release of p- nitrophenol (pNP) from p-nitrophenyl phosphate, acid phosphatase activity was detected in wild-type but not in pilD mutant supernatants. Mutant supernatants also did not release either pNP from p-nitrophenyl caprylate and palmitate or free fatty acid from 1-mono-palmitoylglycerol, suggesting that they lack a lipase-like activity. However, since wild-type samples failed to release free fatty acids from 1,2-dipalmitoylglycerol or to cleave a triglyceride derivative, this secreted activity should be viewed as an esterase-monoacylglycerol lipase. The mutant supernatants were defective for both release of free fatty acids from phosphatidylcholine and degradation of RNA, indicating that PilD-negative bacteria lack a secreted phospholipase A (PLA) and nuclease. Finally, wild-type but not mutant supernatants liberated pNP from p-nitrophenylphosphorylcholine (pNPPC). Characterization of a new set of mutants defective for pNPPC-hydrolysis indicated that this wild-type activity is due to a novel enzyme, as opposed to a PLC or another known enzyme. Some, but not all, of these mutants were greatly impaired for intracellular infection, suggesting that a second regulator or processor of the pNPPC hydrolase is critical for L. pneumophila virulence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1855-1863
Number of pages9
JournalInfection and immunity
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


Dive into the research topics of 'Secreted enzymatic activities of wild-type and pilD-deficient Legionella pneumophila'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this