Computational prediction of secretion systems and secretomes of Brucella: identification of novel type IV effectors and their interaction with the host
Brucella spp. are facultative intracellular pathogens that cause brucellosis in various mammals including humans. Brucella survive inside the host cells by forming vacuoles and subverting host defence systems. This study was aimed to predict the secretion systems and the secretomes of Brucella spp. from 39 complete genome sequences available in the databases. Furthermore, an attempt was made to identify the type IV secretion effectors and their interactions with host proteins. We predicted the secretion systems of Brucella by the KEGG pathway and SecReT4. Brucella secretomes and type IV effectors (T4SEs) were predicted through genome-wide screening using JVirGel and S4TE, respectively. Protein–protein interactions of Brucella T4SEs with their hosts were analyzed by HPIDB 2.0. Genes coding for Sec and Tat pathways of secretion and type I (T1SS), type IV (T4SS) and type V (T5SS) secretion systems were identified and they are conserved in all the species of Brucella. In addition to the well-known VirB operon coding for the type IV secretion system (T4SS), we have identified the presence of additional genes showing homology with T4SS of other organisms. On the whole, 10.26 to 14.94% of total proteomes were found to be either secreted (secretome) or membrane associated (membrane proteome). Approximately, 1.7 to 3.0% of total proteomes were identified as type IV secretion effectors (T4SEs). Prediction of protein–protein interactions showed 29 and 36 host–pathogen specific interactions between Bos taurus (cattle)–B. abortus and Ovis aries (sheep)–B. melitensis, respectively. Functional characterization of the predicted T4SEs and their interactions with their respective hosts may reveal the secrets of host specificity of Brucella.