University of Dundee

“Assembly of an antibacterial speargun: the Type VI secretion system"

Event Date: 
Wednesday, March 15, 2017 - 10:00 to 11:00
Event Location: 
MSI Small Lecture Theatre
Dr Sarah Coulthurst
Event Speaker: 
Prof Eric Cascales
CNRS – Aix-Marseille Université
Event Type: 


The Type VI secretion system (T6SS) delivers protein effectors to diverse cell types including prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, therefore participating in inter-bacterial competition and pathogenesis. The T6SS comprises an envelope-spanning complex anchoring a cytoplasmic tubular edifice. This tubular structure is evolutionarily, functionally and structurally related to the tail of contractile phages. It is composed of an inner tube tipped by a spike complex, and engulfed within a sheath-like structure. This structure assembles onto a platform called "baseplate" that is connected to the membrane sub-complex. The T6SS functions as a speargun: upon contraction of the sheath, the inner tube is propelled towards the target cell, allowing effector delivery. During this presentation, I will present our recent results regarding the architecture, biogenesis and function of this fascinating secretion machine.