JCVI: Genetic Dissection of the Type VI Secretion System in Acinetobacter and Identification of a Novel Peptidoglycan Hydrolase, TagX, Required for Its Biogenesis.
 
 
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Weber BS, Hennon SW, Wright MS, Scott NE, de Berardinis V, Foster LJ, Ayala JA, Adams MD, Feldman MF

Genetic Dissection of the Type VI Secretion System in Acinetobacter and Identification of a Novel Peptidoglycan Hydrolase, TagX, Required for Its Biogenesis.

MBio. 2016 Oct 11; 7.

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Abstract

The type VI secretion system (T6SS) is a widespread secretory apparatus produced by Gram-negative bacteria that has emerged as a potent mediator of antibacterial activity during interbacterial interactions. Most Acinetobacter species produce a genetically conserved T6SS, although the expression and functionality of this system vary among different strains. Some pathogenic Acinetobacter baumannii strains activate this secretion system via the spontaneous loss of a plasmid carrying T6SS repressors. In this work, we compared the expression of T6SS-related genes via transcriptome sequencing and differential proteomics in cells with and without the plasmid. This approach, together with the mutational analysis of the T6SS clusters, led to the determination of the genetic components required to elaborate a functional T6SS in the nosocomial pathogen A. baumannii and the nonpathogen A. baylyi By constructing a comprehensive combination of mutants with changes in the T6SS-associated vgrG genes, we delineated their relative contributions to T6SS function. We further determined the importance of two effectors, including an effector-immunity pair, for antibacterial activity. Our genetic analysis led to the identification of an essential membrane-associated structural component named TagX, which we have characterized as a peptidoglycan hydrolase possessing l,d-endopeptidase activity. TagX shows homology to known bacteriophage l,d-endopeptidases and is conserved in the T6SS clusters of several bacterial species. We propose that TagX is the first identified enzyme that fulfills the important role of enabling the transit of T6SS machinery across the peptidoglycan layer of the T6SS-producing bacterium.