The pathogen-encoded signalling receptor Tir exploits host-like intrinsic disorder for infection


  • Vieira Marta
  • Hernandez Guillem
  • Zhong Qiyun
  • Arbesú Miguel
  • Veloso Tiago
  • Gomes Tiago
  • Martins Maria
  • Monteiro Hugo
  • Frazão Carlos
  • Frankel Gad
  • Zanzoni Andreas
  • Cordeiro Tiago

document type



Abstract The translocated intimin receptor (Tir) is an essential type III secretion system (T3SS) effector of attaching and effacing pathogens contributing to the global foodborne disease burden. Tir acts as a cell-surface receptor in host cells, rewiring intracellular processes by targeting multiple host proteins. We investigated the molecular basis for Tir’s binding diversity in signalling, finding that Tir is a disordered protein with host-like binding motifs. Unexpectedly, also are several other T3SS effectors. By an integrative approach, we reveal that Tir dimerises via an antiparallel OB-fold within a highly disordered N-terminal cytosolic domain. Also, it has a long disordered C-terminal cytosolic domain partially structured at host-like motifs that bind lipids. Membrane affinity depends on lipid composition and phosphorylation, highlighting a previously unrecognised host interaction impacting Tir-induced actin polymerisation and cell death. Furthermore, multi-site tyrosine phosphorylation enables Tir to engage host SH2 domains in a multivalent fuzzy complex, consistent with Tir’s scaffolding role and binding promiscuity. Our findings provide insights into the intracellular Tir domains, highlighting the ability of T3SS effectors to exploit host-like protein disorder as a strategy for host evasion.

more information