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    The remarkable biomechanical properties of the Type 1 Chaperone-Usher Pilus: a structural and molecular perspective

    Hospenthal, M.K. and Waksman, Gabriel (2019) The remarkable biomechanical properties of the Type 1 Chaperone-Usher Pilus: a structural and molecular perspective. Microbiology Spectrum 7 (1), ISSN 2165-0497.

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    Chaperone-usher (CU) pili are long, supramolecular protein fibers tethered to the surface of numerous bacterial pathogens. These virulence factors function primarily in bacterial adhesion to host tissues, but they also mediate biofilm formation. Type 1 and P pili of uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC) are the two best-studied CU pilus examples, and here we primarily focus on the former. UPEC can be transmitted to the urinary tract by fecal shedding. It can then ascend up the urinary tract and cause disease by invading and colonizing host tissues of the bladder, causing cystitis, and the kidneys, causing pyelonephritis. FimH is the subunit displayed at the tip of type 1 pili and mediates adhesion to mannosylated host cells via a unique catch-bond mechanism. In response to shear forces caused by urine flow, FimH can transition from a low-affinity to high-affinity binding mode. This clever allosteric mechanism allows UPEC cells to remain tightly attached during periods of urine flow, while loosening their grip to allow dissemination through the urinary tract during urine stasis. Moreover, the bulk of a CU pilus is made up of the rod, which can reversibly uncoil in response to urine flow to evenly spread the tensile forces over the entire pilus length. We here explore the novel structural and mechanistic findings relating to the type 1 pilus FimH catch-bond and rod uncoiling and explain how they function together to enable successful attachment, spread, and persistence in the hostile urinary tract.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Ecology, Microbiology (medical), General Immunology and Microbiology, Genetics, Cell Biology, Physiology, Infectious Diseases
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Natural Sciences
    SWORD Depositor: Mr Joe Tenant
    Depositing User: Mr Joe Tenant
    Date Deposited: 03 May 2019 07:51
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:49


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