Cross-Kingdom Activation of Vibrio Toxins by ADP-Ribosylation Factor Family GTPases

Alfa Herrera, Karla J.F. Satchella*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Pathogenic Vibrio species use many different approaches to subvert, attack, and undermine the host response. The toxins they produce are often responsible for the devastating effects associated with their diseases. These toxins target a variety of host proteins, which leads to deleterious effects, including dissolution of cell organelle integrity and inhibition of protein secretion. Becoming increasingly prevalent as cofactors for Vibrio toxins are proteins of the small GTPase families. ADP-ribosylation factor small GTPases (ARFs) in particular are emerging as a common host cofactor necessary for full activation of Vibrio toxins. While ARFs are not the direct target of Vibrio cholerae cholera toxin (CT), ARF binding is required for its optimal activity as an ADP-ribosyltransferase. The makes caterpillars floppy (MCF)like and the domain X (DmX) effectors of the Vibrio vulnificus multifunctional autoprocessing repeats-in-toxin (MARTX) toxin also both require ARFs to initiate autoprocessing and activation as independent effectors. ARFs are ubiquitously expressed in eukaryotes and are key regulators of many cellular processes, and as such they are ideal cofactors for Vibrio pathogens that infect many host species. In this review, we cover in detail the known Vibrio toxins that use ARFs as cross-kingdom activators to both stimulate and optimize their activity. We further discuss how these contrast to toxins and effectors from other bacterial species that coactivate, stimulate, or directly modify host ARFs as their mechanisms of action.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere00278-20
JournalJournal of bacteriology
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • ARF GTPases
  • Effector
  • Escherichia coli, Legionella pneumophila
  • Shigella
  • Toxin
  • Vibrio cholerae
  • Vibrio vulnificus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Microbiology


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