It is homologous to conjugation machinery of bacteria, the conjugative pili. It is capable of transporting both DNA and proteins. It was discovered in ''Agrobacterium tumefaciens'', which uses this system to introduce the T-DNA portion of the Ti plasmid into the plant host, which in turn causes the affected area to develop into a crown gall (tumor). ''Helicobacter pylori'' uses a type IV secretion system to deliver CagA into gastric epithelial cells, which is associated with gastric carcinogenesis. ''Bordetella pertussis'', the causative agent of whooping cough, secretes the pertussis toxin partly through the type IV system. ''Legionella pneumophila'', the causing agent of legionellosis (Legionnaires' disease) utilizes a type IVB secretion system, known as the icm/dot (intracellular multiplication / defect in organelle trafficking genes) system, to translocate numerous effector proteins into its eukaryotic host. The prototypic Type IVA secretion system is the VirB complex of ''Agrobacterium tumefaciens''.

Protein members of this family are components of the type IV secretion system. They mediate intracellular transfer of macromolecules via a mechanism ancestrally related to that of bacterial conjugation machineries. Provided by Wikipedia
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by Dusilová, Lenka, 1975-
Published 2003
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