Ecology of type II secretion in marine gammaproteobacteria.
ABSTRACT Compelling findings on the direct association of the type II secretion (T2S) system with different ecological functions in marine bacteria have challenged the traditional view of the T2S pathway, the function of which has been mostly studied in pathogenic bacteria. The availability of a number of whole-genome sequence data sets enabled the analysis of the genetic composition of the T2S system across a number of Vibrios and Alteromonads. The widespread Gammaproteobacteria, in particular the Alteromonadales and the Vibrionales group, are recognized to play significant roles in the cycling of nutrients in coastal and pelagic marine ecosystems and are also found associated with marine eukaryotes. The combined analysis of the role and the genetic composition of the T2S system in Gammaproteobacteria provides important evidence for the significance of the T2S pathway in the ecology of environmental bacteria.