Caister Academic Press

Assembly and Secretion of Surface Fibres in Gram-negative Bacteria

David G. Thanassi, Matthew R. Chapman and Subhra Chakraborty
from: Bacterial Secreted Proteins: Secretory Mechanisms and Role in Pathogenesis (Edited by: Karl Wooldridge). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2009)


Bacteria assemble a variety of structures on their cell surface, including extended fibers generally termed pili or fimbriae. These fibers mediate interactions with other bacteria, the host, and the environment. Pili often function as adhesins, dictating specific binding to and colonization of biological as well as non-biological surfaces. As such, these fibers are critical virulence factors for pathogenic bacteria, initiating infection and determining how and where bacterial colonization may occur. This chapter will review the biogenesis of surface fibers by Gram-negative bacteria, with a focus on assembly mechanisms and machinery, and the structures of component proteins and the assembled organelles. The specific systems discussed in this chapter are the chaperone/usher pathway, alternate chaperone/usher pathway, extracellular nucleation/precipitation pathway (curli), and type IV pili read more ...
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