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Due to its essential role in cellular processes, actin is a common target for bacterial toxins. One such toxin, TccC3, is an effector domain of the ABC-toxin produced by entomopathogenic bacteria of Photorhabdus spp. Unlike other actin-targeting toxins, TccC3 uniquely ADP-ribosylates actin at Thr-148, resulting in the formation of actin aggregates and inhibition of phagocytosis. It has been shown that the fully modified F-actin is resistant to depolymerization by cofilin and gelsolin, but their effects on partially modified actin were not explored. We found that only F-actin unprotected by tropomyosin is the physiological TccC3 substrate. Yet, ADP-ribosylated G-actin can be produced upon cofilin-accelerated F-actin depolymerization, which was only mildly inhibited in partially modified actin. The affinity of TccC3-ADP-ribosylated G-actin for profilin and thymosin-β4 was weakened moderately but sufficiently to potentiate spontaneous polymerization in their presence. Interestingly, the Arp2/3-mediated nucleation was also potentiated by T148-ADP-ribosylation. Notably, even partially modified actin showed reduced bundling by plastins and α-actinin. In agreement with the role of these and other tandem calponin-homology domain actin organizers in the assembly of the cortical actin network, TccC3 induced intense membrane blebbing in cultured cells. Overall, our data suggest that TccC3 imposes a complex action on the cytoskeleton by affecting F-actin nucleation, recycling, and interaction with actin-binding proteins involved in the integration of actin filaments with each other and cellular elements.


Songyu Dong, Weili Zheng, Nicholas Pinkerton, Jacob Hansen, Svetlana B Tikunova, Jonathan P Davis, Sarah M Heissler, Elena Kudryashova, Edward H Egelman, Dmitri S Kudryashov. Photorhabdus luminescens TccC3 Toxin Targets the Dynamic Population of F-Actin and Impairs Cell Cortex Integrity. International journal of molecular sciences. 2022 Jun 24;23(13)

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PMID: 35806028

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