Structural insights into the biogenesis and biofilm formation by the Escherichia coli common pilus.
Bacteria have evolved a variety of mechanisms for developing community-based biofilms. These bacterial aggregates are of clinical importance, as they are a major source of recurrent disease. Bacterial surface fibers (pili) permit adherence to biotic and abiotic substrates, often in a highly specific manner. The Escherichia coli common pilus (ECP) represents a remarkable family of extracellular fibers that are associated with both disease-causing and commensal strains. ECP plays a dual role in early-stage biofilm development and host cell recognition. Despite being the most common fimbrial structure, relatively little is known regarding its biogenesis, architecture, and function. Here we report atomic-resolution insight into the biogenesis and architecture of ECP. We also derive a structural model for entwined ECP fibers that not only illuminates interbacteria communication during biofilm formation but also provides a useful foundation for the design of novel nanofibers.
Centre for Structural Biology, Department of Biological Sciences, Imperial College London, South Kensington, London SW7 2AZ, United Kingdom.
SourceProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 109:10 2012 Mar 6 pg 3950-5
Bacterial Physiological Phenomena
Escherichia coli Proteins
Pub Type(s)Journal Article
Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't