Most type VI secretion systems (T6SSs) described to date are protein delivery apparatuses that mediate bactericidal activities. Several T6SSs were also reported to mediate virulence activities, although only few anti-eukaryotic effectors have been described. Here, we identify three T6SSs in the marine bacterium Vibrio proteolyticus and show that T6SS1 mediates bactericidal activities under warm marine-like conditions. Using comparative proteomics, we find nine potential T6SS1 effectors, five of which belong to the polymorphic MIX-effector class. Remarkably, in addition to six predicted bactericidal effectors, the T6SS1 secretome includes three putative anti-eukaryotic effectors. One of these is a MIX-effector containing a cytotoxic necrotizing factor 1 domain. We demonstrate that T6SS1 can use this MIX-effector to target phagocytic cells, resulting in morphological changes and actin cytoskeleton rearrangements. In conclusion, the V. proteolyticus T6SS1, a system homologous to one found in pathogenic vibrios, uses a suite of polymorphic effectors that target both bacteria and eukaryotic neighbors.
- bacterial competition