Type VI secretion and anti-host effectors

Curr Opin Microbiol. 2016 Feb:29:81-93. doi: 10.1016/j.mib.2015.11.006. Epub 2015 Dec 24.


Secretion systems play a central role in infectious diseases by enabling pathogenic bacteria to deliver virulence factors into target cells. The type VI secretion system (T6SS) mediates bacterial antagonism in various environments including eukaryotic niches, such as the gut. This molecular machine injects lethal toxins directly in target bacterial cells. It provides an advantage to pathogens encountering the commensal flora of the host and indirectly contributes to colonization and persistence. Yet, the T6SS is not employed for the sole purpose of bacterial killing and several T6SS effectors are dedicated to the subversion of eukaryotic cells. As described for type III and type IV secretion systems, these effectors impede host cell functions and promote immune evasion, thereby enabling successful infection.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibiosis
  • Bacteria / pathogenicity*
  • Bacterial Infections / immunology
  • Bacterial Infections / microbiology*
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions*
  • Humans
  • Immune Evasion
  • Mice
  • Protein Transport
  • Symbiosis
  • Type VI Secretion Systems / genetics
  • Type VI Secretion Systems / physiology*
  • Virulence Factors / genetics
  • Virulence Factors / physiology


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Type VI Secretion Systems
  • Virulence Factors