Gram-negative bacteria deliver effectors via the type VI secretion system (T6SS) to outcompete their rivals. Each bacterial strain carries a different arsenal of effectors; the identities of many remain unknown. Here, we present an approach to identify T6SS effectors encoded in bacterial genomes of interest, without prior knowledge of the effectors’ domain content or genetic neighborhood. Our pipeline comprises a comparative genomics analysis followed by screening using a surrogate T6SS+ strain. Using this approach, we identify an antibacterial effector belonging to the T6SS1 of Vibrio parahaemolyticus, representing a widespread family of T6SS effectors sharing a C-terminal domain that we name Tme (Type VI membrane-disrupting effector). Tme effectors function in the periplasm where they intoxicate bacteria by disrupting membrane integrity. We believe our approach can be scaled up to identify additional T6SS effectors in various bacterial genera.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)