Type VII secretion systems (T7SS) are found in many bacteria and secrete proteins involved in virulence and bacterial competition. In Staphylococcus aureus the small ubiquitin-like EsaB protein has been previously implicated as having a regulatory role in the production of the EsxC substrate. Here we show that in the S. aureus RN6390 strain, EsaB does not genetically regulate production of any T7 substrates or components, but is indispensable for secretion activity. Consistent with EsaB being an essential component of the T7SS, loss of either EsaB or EssC are associated with upregulation of a common set of iron acquisition genes. However, a further subset of genes were dysregulated only in the absence of EsaB. Quantitative western blotting indicates that EsaB is present at very low levels in cells. Substitution of a highly conserved threonine for alanine or arginine resulted in a loss of EsaB activity and destabilisation of the protein. Taken together our findings show that EsaB is essential for T7SS activity in RN6390.
- Staphylococcus aureus
- Protein secretion