Type IV Effector Secretion and Subversion of Host Functions by Bartonella and Brucella Species

  • Christoph DehioEmail author
  • Renée M. TsolisEmail author
Part of the Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology book series (CT MICROBIOLOGY, volume 413)


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.


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


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.BiozentrumUniversity of BaselBaselSwitzerland
  2. 2.Medical Microbiology and Immunology, University of California at DavisDavisUSA

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