Send to

Choose Destination
Cell Host Microbe. 2012 May 17;11(5):538-49. doi: 10.1016/j.chom.2012.04.007.

A widespread bacterial type VI secretion effector superfamily identified using a heuristic approach.

Author information

Department of Microbiology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA.


Sophisticated mechanisms are employed to facilitate information exchange between interfacing bacteria. A type VI secretion system (T6SS) of Pseudomonas aeruginosa was shown to deliver cell wall-targeting effectors to neighboring cells. However, the generality of bacteriolytic effectors and, moreover, of antibacterial T6S remained unknown. Using parameters derived from experimentally validated bacterial T6SS effectors we identified a phylogenetically disperse superfamily of T6SS-associated peptidoglycan-degrading effectors. The effectors separate into four families composed of peptidoglycan amidase enzymes of differing specificities. Effectors strictly co-occur with cognate immunity proteins, indicating that self-intoxication is a general property of antibacterial T6SSs and effector delivery by the system exerts a strong selective pressure in nature. The presence of antibacterial effectors in a plethora of organisms, including many that inhabit or infect polymicrobial niches in the human body, suggests that the system could mediate interbacterial interactions of both environmental and clinical significance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center