Handover mechanism of the growing pilus by the bacterial outer-membrane usher FimD.

Abstract:

:Pathogenic bacteria such as Escherichia coli assemble surface structures termed pili, or fimbriae, to mediate binding to host-cell receptors1. Type 1 pili are assembled via the conserved chaperone-usher pathway2-5. The outer-membrane usher FimD recruits pilus subunits bound by the chaperone FimC via the periplasmic N-terminal domain of the usher. Subunit translocation through the β-barrel channel of the usher occurs at the two C-terminal domains (which we label CTD1 and CTD2) of this protein. How the chaperone-subunit complex bound to the N-terminal domain is handed over to the C-terminal domains, as well as the timing of subunit polymerization into the growing pilus, have previously been unclear. Here we use cryo-electron microscopy to capture a pilus assembly intermediate (FimD-FimC-FimF-FimG-FimH) in a conformation in which FimD is in the process of handing over the chaperone-bound end of the growing pilus to the C-terminal domains. In this structure, FimF has already polymerized with FimG, and the N-terminal domain of FimD swings over to bind CTD2; the N-terminal domain maintains contact with FimC-FimF, while at the same time permitting access to the C-terminal domains. FimD has an intrinsically disordered N-terminal tail that precedes the N-terminal domain. This N-terminal tail folds into a helical motif upon recruiting the FimC-subunit complex, but reorganizes into a loop to bind CTD2 during handover. Because both the N-terminal and C-terminal domains of FimD are bound to the end of the growing pilus, the structure further suggests a mechanism for stabilizing the assembly intermediate to prevent the pilus fibre diffusing away during the incorporation of thousands of subunits.

journal_name

Nature

journal_title

Nature

authors

Du M,Yuan Z,Yu H,Henderson N,Sarowar S,Zhao G,Werneburg GT,Thanassi DG,Li H

doi

10.1038/s41586-018-0587-z

subject

Has Abstract

pub_date

2018-10-01 00:00:00

pages

444-447

issue

7727

eissn

0028-0836

issn

1476-4687

pii

10.1038/s41586-018-0587-z

journal_volume

562

pub_type

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