Legionella and Coxiella effectors: strength in diversity and activity

Nat Rev Microbiol. 2017 Oct;15(10):591-605. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro.2017.67. Epub 2017 Jul 17.


Legionella pneumophila and Coxiella burnetii are two evolutionarily related intracellular pathogens that use the Dot/Icm type IV secretion system to translocate effectors into host cells. These effectors are essential for the establishment of membrane-bound compartments known as replication vacuoles, which enable the survival and replication of bacteria inside host cells. The effectors interfere with diverse signalling pathways to co-opt host processes, such as vesicle trafficking, ubiquitylation, gene expression and lipid metabolism, to promote pathogen survival. In this Review, we explore Dot/Icm effectors from L. pneumophila and C. burnetii as key virulence factors, and we examine the biochemical and cell biological functions of these effectors and their roles in our understanding of bacterial virulence.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biological Transport / physiology
  • Coxiella burnetii / genetics
  • Coxiella burnetii / metabolism
  • Coxiella burnetii / pathogenicity*
  • Gene Expression / genetics
  • Legionella pneumophila / genetics
  • Legionella pneumophila / metabolism
  • Legionella pneumophila / pathogenicity*
  • Lipid Metabolism / physiology
  • Type IV Secretion Systems / physiology*
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases / metabolism
  • Ubiquitination
  • Vacuoles / microbiology*


  • Type IV Secretion Systems
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases