Ehrlichia TRP effectors: Moonlighting, mimicry and infection

Caitlan D. Byerly, La Nisha L. Patterson, Jere W. McBride

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Intracellular bacteria have evolved various strategies to evade host defense mechanisms. Remarkably, the obligately intracellular bacterium, Ehrlichia chaffeensis, hijacks host cell processes of the mononuclear phagocyte to evade host defenses through mechanisms executed in part by tandem repeat protein (TRP) effectors secreted by the type 1 secretion system. In the past decade, TRP120 has emerged as a model moonlighting effector, acting as a ligand mimetic, nucleomodulin and ubiquitin ligase. These defined functions illuminate the diverse roles TRP120 plays in exploiting and manipulating host cell processes, including cytoskeletal organization, vesicle trafficking, cell signaling, transcriptional regulation, post-translational modifications, autophagy and apoptosis. This review will focus on TRP effectors and their expanding roles in infection and provide perspective on Ehrlichia chaffeensis as an invaluable model organism for understanding infection strategies of obligately intracellular bacteria.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberftab026
JournalPathogens and disease
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 1 2021


  • Ehrlichia chaffeensis
  • effector proteins
  • effector-pathogen interactions
  • intracellular bacteria
  • moonlighting
  • tandem repeat proteins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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