Structure and Function of the Mycobacterial Type VII Secretion Systems

Catalin M Bunduc, W Bitter, E N G Houben

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23 Citations (Scopus)


Bacteria have evolved intricate secretion machineries for the successful delivery of large molecules across their cell envelopes. Such specialized secretion systems allow a variety of bacteria to thrive in specific host environments. In mycobacteria, type VII secretion systems (T7SSs) are dedicated protein transport machineries that fulfill diverse and crucial roles, ranging from metabolite uptake to immune evasion and subversion to conjugation. Since the discovery of mycobacterial T7SSs about 15 y ago, genetic, structural, and functional studies have provided insight into the roles and functioning of these secretion machineries. Here, we focus on recent advances in the elucidation of the structure and mechanism of mycobacterial T7SSs in protein secretion. As many of these systems are essential for mycobacterial growth or virulence, they provide opportunities for the development of novel therapies to combat a number of relevant mycobacterial diseases. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Microbiology, Volume 74 is September 8, 2020. Please see for revised estimates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-335
Number of pages21
JournalAnnual review of microbiology
Early online date13 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - 8 Sept 2020


  • Mycobacteria
  • structural biology
  • tuberculosis
  • type VII secretion

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