Contact-dependent interbacterial toxins deliver a message

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-46
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Microbiology
StatePublished - Apr 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
I would like to recognize the many investigators in the field whose work I could not highlight due to space limitations. Work in the Garcia laboratory is supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health ( AI118949 ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Ltd

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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