The Legionella pneumophila Dot/Icm type IV secretion system and its effectors

Daniel C. Lockwood, Himani Amin, Tiago R. D. Costa*, Gunnar N. Schroeder*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
139 Downloads (Pure)


To prevail in the interaction with eukaryotic hosts, many bacterial pathogens use protein secretion systems to release virulence factors at the host–pathogen interface and/or deliver them directly into host cells. An outstanding example of the complexity and sophistication of secretion systems and the diversity of their protein substrates, effectors, is the Defective in organelle trafficking/Intracellular multiplication (Dot/Icm) Type IVB secretion system (T4BSS) of Legionella pneumophila and related species. Legionella species are facultative intracellular pathogens of environmental protozoa and opportunistic human respiratory pathogens. The Dot/Icm T4BSS translocates an exceptionally large number of effectors, more than 300 per L. pneumophila strain, and is essential for evasion of phagolysosomal degradation and exploitation of protozoa and human macrophages as replicative niches. Recent technological advancements in the imaging of large protein complexes have provided new insight into the architecture of the T4BSS and allowed us to propose models for the transport mechanism. At the same time, significant progress has been made in assigning functions to about a third of L. pneumophila effectors, discovering unprecedented new enzymatic activities and concepts of host subversion. In this review, we describe the current knowledge of the workings of the Dot/Icm T4BSS machinery and provide an overview of the activities and functions of the to-date characterized effectors in the interaction of L. pneumophila with host cells.

Original languageEnglish
Article number001187
Number of pages36
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2022


  • Microbiology


Dive into the research topics of 'The Legionella pneumophila Dot/Icm type IV secretion system and its effectors'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this