Genetically distinct pathways guide effector export through the type VI secretion system

Authors


Summary

Bacterial secretion systems often employ molecular chaperones to recognize and facilitate export of their substrates. Recent work demonstrated that a secreted component of the type VI secretion system (T6SS), haemolysin co-regulated protein (Hcp), binds directly to effectors, enhancing their stability in the bacterial cytoplasm. Herein, we describe a quantitative cellular proteomics screen for T6S substrates that exploits this chaperone-like quality of Hcp. Application of this approach to the Hcp secretion island I-encoded T6SS (H1-T6SS) of Pseudomonas aeruginosa led to the identification of a novel effector protein, termed Tse4 (type VI secretion exported 4), subsequently shown to act as a potent intra-specific H1-T6SS-delivered antibacterial toxin. Interestingly, our screen failed to identify two predicted H1-T6SS effectors, Tse5 and Tse6, which differ from Hcp-stabilized substrates by the presence of toxin-associated PAAR-repeat motifs and genetic linkage to members of the valine-glycine repeat protein G (vgrG) genes. Genetic studies further distinguished these two groups of effectors: Hcp-stabilized effectors were found to display redundancy in interbacterial competition with respect to the requirement for the two H1-T6SS-exported VgrG proteins, whereas Tse5 and Tse6 delivery strictly required a cognate VgrG. Together, we propose that interaction with either VgrG or Hcp defines distinct pathways for T6S effector export.

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