Archaic chaperone-usher pilus self-secretes into a superelastic zigzag spring architecture [post]

Anton Zavialov, Natalia Pakharukova, Henri Malmi, Minna Tuittila, Sari Paavilainen, Tobias Dahlberg, Magnus Andersson, Si Lhyam Myint, Bernt Eric Uhlin, Debnath Ghosal, Yi-Wei Chang, Grant Jensen (+2 others)
2021 unpublished
Adhesive pili are hair-like appendages assembled via the chaperone-usher pathway (CUP) that mediate host tissue colonization and biofilm formation of Gram-negative bacteria 1-3. Archaic CUP pili, the most diverse and widespread CUP adhesins, are promising vaccine and drug targets due to their prevalence in the most troublesome multidrug-resistant (MDR) pathogens 1,4,5. However, their architecture and assembly-secretion process remain unknown. Here, we present the 3.4 Å resolution cryo-electron
more » ... icroscopy structure of the prototypical archaic Csu pilus that mediates biofilm formation of Acinetobacter baumannii, a notorious MDR nosocomial pathogen. In contrast to the thick helical tubes of the classical CUP pili, archaic pili assemble into a conceptually novel ultrathin zigzag architecture secured by an elegant clinch mechanism. The molecular clinch provides the pilus with high mechanical stability as well as superelasticity, a property observed now for the first time in biomolecules, while enabling a more economical and faster pilus production. Furthermore, we demonstrate that clinch formation at the cell surface drives pilus secretion through the outer membrane. These findings suggest that clinch-formation inhibitors might represent a new strategy to fight MDR bacterial infections.
doi:10.21203/ fatcat:cacfkcd7wfho5nzueg6zzxygia