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Multi-scale model of bacterial cell-cell interactions

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






 T6S project word cloud

Explore the words cloud of the T6S project. It provides you a very rough idea of what is the project "T6S" about.

beam    milling    phage    macromolecular    ect    conformational    imaging    prepare    central    anchoring    samples    cryo    propels    types    proteins    vivo    intercellular    utilizes    data    interactions    structure    light    complemented    manner    cytoplasmic    cells    elucidate    cellular    clustering    relevance    translocation    fundamental    reveal    confined    microscopy    answers    dynamics    effectors    transporting    property    contact    bacteria    t6s    atomic    spike    context    actively    machines    region    effector    tube    penetration    multiple    vitro    mechanisms    scales    engaged    outside    anchored    cell    complexes    significance    electron    sub    clarify    play    tail    resolve    fluorescence    secretion    eukaryotic    inner    envelope    sheath    mediate    structures    fashion    thin    native    dimensions    loaded    molecular    fired    contractile    paramount    membrane    structural    mediated    apparatus    questions    micrometer    ion    vi    dependent    tomography    technique    resolution    nanometer    injects    integrating    bacterial    model    prove   

Project "T6S" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
address: Raemistrasse 101
postcode: 8092

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country Switzerland [CH]
 Project website
 Total cost 1˙751˙853 €
 EC max contribution 1˙751˙853 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2015-STG
 Funding Scheme ERC-STG
 Starting year 2017
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2017-01-01   to  2021-12-31


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 


 Project objective

Transporting selected proteins across the cell envelope in a controlled manner is a fundamental property of all cell types. For bacteria, secretion systems play a central role in the translocation of effectors that mediate interactions with other cells. The bacterial Type VI Secretion (T6S) system is one of the most widespread secretion systems and, in a cell-cell contact-dependent fashion, it injects effectors into eukaryotic and bacterial targets. The T6S system utilizes a cytoplasmic phage tail-like apparatus that is anchored to the cell envelope. A contractile sheath propels a macromolecular effector-loaded tube/spike-complex outside the cell and into the target.

Here, we will establish a model of T6S-mediated cell-cell interactions by integrating information from the molecular, cellular and intercellular scales. The model will reveal answers to three paramount questions of the field: Aim 1 (molecular scale) will elucidate an atomic model of the T6S membrane-anchoring complex in loaded and fired conformational states. Aim 2 (cellular scale) will identify the mechanisms and relevance of clustering multiple T6S machines in a confined region of the cell. Aim 3 (intercellular scale) will resolve T6S actively engaged in cell-cell interactions to clarify the in vivo structure and significance of the inner tube in effector translocation and target cell penetration.

Electron cryo-tomography (ECT) will be used as the key technique to resolve unique structures in their cellular context, in a native state, in three dimensions and at the crucial nanometer-to-micrometer range. Cryo-focused ion beam milling will be established to prepare samples thin enough for ECT imaging. ECT data will be complemented by high-resolution structural information of sub-complexes (in vitro) and low-resolution fluorescence light microscopy data on dynamics (in vivo). In the future, our approach will prove useful to study other types of bacterial cell-cell interactions.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2018 Shujun Cai, Désirée Böck, Martin Pilhofer, Lu Gan
The in situ structures of mono-, di-, and trinucleosomes in human heterochromatin
published pages: 2450-2457, ISSN: 1059-1524, DOI: 10.1091/mbc.e18-05-0331
Molecular Biology of the Cell 29/20 2019-09-04
2017 Masanori Toyofuku, Gerardo Cárcamo-Oyarce, Tatsuya Yamamoto, Fabian Eisenstein, Chien-Chi Hsiao, Masaharu Kurosawa, Karl Gademann, Martin Pilhofer, Nobuhiko Nomura, Leo Eberl
Prophage-triggered membrane vesicle formation through peptidoglycan damage in Bacillus subtilis
published pages: , ISSN: 2041-1723, DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-00492-w
Nature Communications 8/1 2019-09-04
2019 Chiara Rapisarda, Yassine Cherrak, Romain Kooger, Victoria Schmidt, Riccardo Pellarin, Laureen Logger, Eric Cascales, Martin Pilhofer, Eric Durand, Rémi Fronzes
In situ and high‐resolution cryo‐EM structure of a bacterial type VI secretion system membrane complex
published pages: e100886, ISSN: 0261-4189, DOI: 10.15252/embj.2018100886
The EMBO Journal 38/10 2019-09-04
2019 Piotr Szwedziak, Martin Pilhofer
Bidirectional contraction of a type six secretion system
published pages: , ISSN: 2041-1723, DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-09603-1
Nature Communications 10/1 2019-09-04
2018 João M. Medeiros, Désirée Böck, Gregor L. Weiss, Romain Kooger, Roger A. Wepf, Martin Pilhofer
Robust workflow and instrumentation for cryo-focused ion beam milling of samples for electron cryotomography
published pages: 1-11, ISSN: 0304-3991, DOI: 10.1016/j.ultramic.2018.04.002
Ultramicroscopy 190 2019-06-19
2017 Désirée Böck, João M. Medeiros, Han-Fei Tsao, Thomas Penz, Gregor L. Weiss, Karin Aistleitner, Matthias Horn, Martin Pilhofer
In situ architecture, function, and evolution of a contractile injection system
published pages: 713-717, ISSN: 0036-8075, DOI: 10.1126/science.aan7904
Science 357/6352 2019-06-19

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