Bacterial contact-dependent delivery systems

Annu Rev Genet. 2010;44:71-90. doi: 10.1146/annurev.genet.42.110807.091449.


Bacteria have developed remarkable systems that sense neighboring target cells upon contact and initiate a series of events that enhance their survival and growth at the expense of the target cells. Four main classes of bacterial cell surface structures have been identified that interact with prokaryotic or eukaryotic target cells to deliver DNA or protein effectors. Type III secretion systems (T3SS) use a flagellum-like tube to deliver protein effectors into eukaryotic host cells, whereas Type IV systems use a pilus-based system to mediate DNA or protein transfer into recipient cells. The contact-dependent growth inhibition system (CDI) is a Type V system, using a long β-helical cell surface protein to contact receptors in target cells and deliver a growth inhibitory signal. Type VI systems utilize a phage-like tube and cell puncturing device to secrete effector proteins into both eukaryotic and prokaryotic target cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / metabolism*
  • Bacterial Secretion Systems*
  • Eukaryotic Cells / microbiology
  • Signal Transduction


  • Bacterial Secretion Systems