The type VI secretion system (T6SS) is deployed by numerous Gram-negative bacteria to deliver toxic effectors into neighbouring cells. The genome of Pantoea agglomerans pv. betae (Pab) phytopathogenic bacteria contains a gene cluster (T6SS1) predicted to encode a complete T6SS. Using secretion and competition assays, we found that T6SS1 in Pab is a functional antibacterial system that allows this pathogen to outcompete rival plant-associated bacteria found in its natural environment. Computational analysis of the T6SS1 gene cluster revealed that antibacterial effector and immunity proteins are encoded within three genomic islands that also harbour arrays of orphan immunity genes or toxin and immunity cassettes. Functional analyses indicated that VgrG, a specialized antibacterial effector, contains a C-terminal catalytically active glucosaminidase domain that is used to degrade prey peptidoglycan. Moreover, we confirmed that a bicistronic unit at the end of the T6SS1 cluster encodes a novel antibacterial T6SS effector and immunity pair. Together, these results demonstrate that Pab T6SS1 is an antibacterial system delivering a lysozyme-like effector to eliminate competitors, and indicate that this bacterium contains additional novel T6SS effectors.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics