Send to

Choose Destination
Cell Microbiol. 2015 Dec;17(12):1742-51. doi: 10.1111/cmi.12532. Epub 2015 Nov 3.

Molecular weaponry: diverse effectors delivered by the Type VI secretion system.

Author information

Division of Molecular Microbiology, School of Life Sciences, University of Dundee, Dundee, DD1 5EH, UK.


The Type VI secretion system is a widespread bacterial nanomachine, used to deliver toxins directly into eukaryotic or prokaryotic target cells. These secreted toxins, or effectors, act on diverse cellular targets, and their action provides the attacking bacterial cell with a significant fitness advantage, either against rival bacteria or eukaryotic host organisms. In this review, we discuss the delivery of diverse effectors by the Type VI secretion system, the modes of action of the so-called 'anti-bacterial' and 'anti-eukaryotic' effectors, the mechanism of self-resistance against anti-bacterial effectors and the evolutionary implications of horizontal transfer of Type VI secretion system-associated toxins. Whilst it is likely that many more effectors remain to be identified, it is already clear that toxins delivered by this secretion system represent efficient weapons against both bacteria and eukaryotes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center