Type IV effector secretion and subversion of host functions by bartonella and brucella species

Christoph Dehio, Renée M. Tsolis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

13 Scopus citations


Bartonella and Brucella species comprise closely related genera of the order Rhizobiales within the class α-proteobacteria. Both groups of bacteria are mammalian pathogens with a facultative intracellular lifestyle and are capable of causing chronic infections, but members of each genus have evolved broadly different infection and transmission strategies. While Brucella spp. transmit in general via the reproductive tract in their natural hosts, the Bartonella spp. have evolved to transmit via arthropod vectors. However, a shared feature of both groups of pathogens is their reliance on type IV secretion systems (T4SSs) to interact with cells in their mammalian hosts. The genomes of Bartonella spp. encode three types of T4SS, Trw, Vbh/TraG, and VirB/VirD4, whereas those of Brucella spp. uniformly contain a single T4SS of the VirB type. The VirB systems of Bartonella and Brucella are associated with distinct groups of effector proteins that collectively mediate interactions with host cells. This chapter discusses recent findings on the role of T4SS in the biology of Bartonella spp. and Brucella spp. with emphasis on effector repertoires, on recent advances in our understanding of their evolution, how individual effectors function at the molecular level, and on the consequences of these interactions for cellular and immune responses in the host.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCurrent Topics in Microbiology and Immunology
Number of pages27
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

Publication series

NameCurrent Topics in Microbiology and Immunology
ISSN (Print)0070-217X
ISSN (Electronic)2196-9965


  • Bacterial evolution
  • Bacterial secretion systems
  • Conjugation systems
  • Disease transmission
  • Effector proteins
  • Endoplasmic reticulum
  • FIC domain
  • Innate immunity
  • Placenta
  • Post-translational modification
  • Vector-borne disease
  • Zoonoses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Microbiology (medical)


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