A key determinant for intracellular pathogenic bacteria to ensure their virulence within host cells is their ability to bypass the endocytic pathway and to reach a safe niche of replication. In the case of Brucella, the bacterium targets the ER (endoplasmic reticulum) to create a replicating niche called the BCV (Brucella-containing vacuole). The ER is a suitable strategic place for pathogenic Brucella. Indeed, bacteria can be hidden from host cell defences to persist within the host, and they can take advantage of the membrane reservoir delivered by the ER to replicate. Interaction with the ER leads to the presence on the BCV of the GAPDH (glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase) and the small GTPase Rab2 known to be located on secretory vesicles that traffic between the ER and the Golgi apparatus. GAPDH and the small GTPase Rab2 controls Brucella replication at late times post-infection. A specific interaction between the human small GTPase Rab2 and a Brucella spp. protein named RicA was identified. Altered kinetics of intracellular trafficking and faster proliferation of the Brucella abortus ΔricA mutant was observed compared with the wild-type strain. RicA is the first reported effector with a proposed function for B. abortus.
de Bolle, X., Letesson, J-J., & Gorvel, J-P. (2012). Small GTPases and Brucella entry into the endoplasmic reticulum. Biochemical Society transactions, 40(6), 1348-52. https://doi.org/10.1042/BST20120156