National Center for
2J2Z: X-Ray Structure Of The Chaperone Papd In Complex With The Pilus Terminator Subunit Paph At 2.3 Angstrom Resolution
EMBO Rep. (2006) 7 p.1228-1232
P pili are important adhesive fibres that are assembled by the conserved chaperone-usher pathway. During pilus assembly, the subunits are incorporated into the growing fibre by the donor-strand exchange mechanism, whereby the beta-strand of the chaperone, which complements the incomplete immunoglobulin fold of each subunit, is displaced by the amino-terminal extension of an incoming subunit in a zip-in-zip-out exchange process that is initiated at the P5 pocket, an exposed hydrophobic pocket in the groove of the subunit. In vivo, termination of P pilus growth requires a specialized subunit, PapH. Here, we show that PapH is incorporated at the base of the growing pilus, where it is unable to undergo donor-strand exchange. This inability is not due to a stronger PapD-PapH interaction, but to a lack of a P5 initiator pocket in the PapH structure, suggesting that PapH terminates pilus growth because it is lacking the initiation point by which donor-strand exchange proceeds.