Caister Academic Press

Gram-positive Bacterial Pili and the Host-pathogen Interface

Anjali Mandlik, Andrew H. Gaspar, Anu Swaminathan, Arunima Mishra, Asis Das and Hung Ton-That
from: Pili and Flagella: Current Research and Future Trends (Edited by: Ken Jarrell). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2009)


The cell wall of many gram-positive bacteria harbors covalently linked protein polymers, known as pili or fimbriae, which enable these bacteria to adhere to specific host tissues and initiate a pathogenic program. A typical pilus contains a major pilin forming the shaft and one or more minor pilin subunits. The heteromeric pilus is assembled by specific transpeptidase enzymes called sortases. While the joining of individual pilins into a polymer is catalyzed by a pilus-specific sortase, anchoring of the pilus to the cell wall peptidoglycan is carried out by the housekeeping sortase. This chapter reviews our current understanding of the mechanism of pilus assembly and the roles of pili in bacterial pathogenesis read more ...
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