Gram-negative bacteria often employ the type VI secretion system (T6SS) to deliver diverse cocktails of antibacterial effectors into rival bacteria. In many cases, even when the identity of the delivered effectors is known, their toxic activity and mechanism of secretion are not. Here, we investigate VPA1263, a Vibrio parahaemolyticus T6SS effector that belongs to a widespread class of polymorphic effectors containing a MIX domain. We reveal a C-terminal DNase toxin domain belonging to the HNH nuclease superfamily, and we show that it mediates the antibacterial toxicity of this effector during bacterial competition. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the VPA1263 MIX domain is necessary for T6SS-mediated secretion and intoxication of recipient bacteria. These results are the first indication of a functional role for MIX domains in T6SS secretion.
- secretion systems