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Microtubule-severing activity of Shigella is pivotal for intercellular spreading.

Science. 2006 Nov 10;314(5801):985-989.
Yoshida S, Handa Y, Suzuki T, Ogawa M, Suzuki M, Tamai A, Abe A, Katayama E, Sasakawa C.
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, International Research Center for Infectious Diseases, Institute of Medical Science, University of Tokyo.

Some pathogenic bacteria actually invade the cytoplasm of their target host cells. Invasive bacteria acquire the propulsive force to move by recruiting actin and inducing its polymerization. Here we show that Shigella movement within the cytoplasm was severely hindered by microtubules and that the bacteria destroyed surrounding microtubules by secreting VirA by means of the type III secretion system. Degradation of microtubules by VirA was dependent on its alpha-tubulin-specific cysteine protease-like activity. virA mutants did not move within the host cytoplasm and failed to move into adjacent cells.