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Contact-dependent interbacterial toxins deliver a message
- Garcia, Erin C
- Current opinion in microbiology 2018 v.42 pp. 40-46
- bacteria, growth retardation, signal transduction, toxins, type VI secretion system
- Both Gram-negative and Gram-positive organisms harbor systems for delivering toxins to neighboring bacteria upon direct cell contact. These systems, typified by type VI secretion (T6S) and contact-dependent growth inhibition (CDI) systems, are defined by their ability to mediate interbacterial competition in vitro, while their biological roles have remained uncertain. Recent research into the mechanisms of toxin delivery and activity, as well as investigation of contact-dependent toxin function during relevant biological processes, has offered insight into how interbacterial competition might work outside of the laboratory. Furthermore, non-competitive roles for contact-dependent toxin delivery systems, including interbacterial signal transduction, have been described. This review suggests that contact-dependent toxin delivery systems that exhibit functions beyond interbacterial competition are probably more common than currently appreciated.