Brucella T4SS: the VIP pass inside host cells

Curr Opin Microbiol. 2013 Feb;16(1):45-51. doi: 10.1016/j.mib.2012.11.005. Epub 2013 Jan 11.


For many Gram-negative bacteria, like Brucella, the type IV secretion system (T4SS) has a critical role in bacterial virulence. In Brucella, the VirB T4SS permits the injection of bacterial effectors inside host cells, leading to subversion of signaling pathways and favoring bacterial growth and pathogenesis. The virB operon promoter is tightly regulated by a combination of transcriptional activators and repressors that are expressed according to the environmental conditions encountered by Brucella. Recent advances have shed light on the Brucella T4SS regulatory mechanisms and also its substrates. Characterization of the targets and functions of these translocated effectors is underway and will help understand the role of the T4SS in the establishment of a replication niche inside host cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Bacterial Secretion Systems*
  • Brucella / genetics
  • Brucella / metabolism*
  • Brucella / pathogenicity*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Multigene Family
  • Operon
  • Protein Transport
  • Repressor Proteins / metabolism
  • Trans-Activators / metabolism
  • Virulence Factors / genetics
  • Virulence Factors / metabolism*


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Bacterial Secretion Systems
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Trans-Activators
  • Virulence Factors