Type III secreted effectors that target mitochondria

Ipsita Nandi, Lior Aroeti, Rachana Pattani Ramachandran, Ephrem G. Kassa, Efrat Zlotkin-Rivkin, Benjamin Aroeti*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


A type III secretion system (T3SS) is used by Gram-negative bacterial pathogens to secrete and translocate a battery of proteins, termed effectors, from the bacteria directly into the host cells. These effectors, which are thought to play a key role in bacterial virulence, hijack and modify the activity of diverse host cell organelles, including mitochondria. Mitochondria—the energy powerhouse of the cell—are important cell organelles that play role in numerous critical cellular processes, including the initiation of apoptosis and the induction of innate immunity. Therefore, it is not surprising that pathogenic bacteria use mitochondrially targeted effectors to control host cell death and immunity pathways. Surprisingly, however, we found that despite their importance, only a limited number of type III secreted effectors have been characterised to target host mitochondria, and the mechanisms underlying their mitochondrial activity have not been sufficiently analysed. These include effectors secreted by the enteric attaching and effacing (A/E), Salmonella and Shigella bacterial pathogens. Here we give an overview of key findings, present gaps in knowledge and hypotheses concerning the mode by which these type III secreted effectors control the host and the bacterial cell life (and death) through targeting mitochondria.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numbere13352
JournalCellular Microbiology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


  • A/E pathogens
  • Shigella
  • bacterial colonisation
  • bacterial detachment and spread
  • innate immunity
  • mitochondria-induced cell death
  • salmonella
  • type III secreted effector proteins

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