Distribution and diversity of bacterial secretion systems across metagenomic datasets


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Bacteria can manipulate their surrounding environment through the secretion of proteins into other living organisms and into the extracellular milieu. In Gram stain negative bacteria this process is mediated by different types of secretion systems from type I through type VI secretion system (T1SS–T6SS). In this study the prevalence of these secretion systems in 312 publicly available microbiomes derived from a wide range of ecosystems was investigated by a gene-centric approach. Our analysis demonstrates that some secretion systems are over-represented in some specific samples. In addition, some T3SS and T6SS phylogenetic clusters were specifically enriched in particular ecological niches, which could indicate specific bacterial adaptation to these environments.