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J Bacteriol. Jun 1997; 179(11): 3594–3603.
PMCID: PMC179153

The plasmid R64 thin pilus identified as a type IV pilus.


The entire nucleotide sequence of the pil region of the IncI1 plasmid R64 was determined. Analysis of the sequence indicated that 14 genes, designated pilI through pilV, are involved in the formation of the R64 thin pilus. Protein products of eight pil genes were identified by the maxicell procedure. The pilN product was shown to be a lipoprotein by an experiment using globomycin. A computer search revealed that several R64 pil genes have amino acid sequence homology with proteins involved in type IV pilus biogenesis, protein secretion, and transformation competence. The pilS and pilV products were suggested to be prepilins for the R64 thin pilus, and the pilU product appears to be a prepilin peptidase. These results suggest that the R64 thin pilus belongs to the type IV family, specifically group IVB, of pili. The requirement of the pilR and pilU genes for R64 liquid mating was demonstrated by constructing their frameshift mutations. Comparison of three type IVB pilus biogenesis systems, the pil system of R64, the toxin-coregulated pilus (tcp) system of Vibrio cholerae, and the bundle-forming pilus (bfp) system of enteropathogenic Escherichia coli, suggests that they have evolved from a common ancestral gene system.

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Selected References

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