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Trends Microbiol. 2002 Aug;10(8):382-7.

Tying rings for sex.

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Department of Mass Spectrometry and Gaseous Ion Chemistry, The Rockefeller University, New York, NY 10021-6399, USA.


The primary component of the sex pilus encoded by IncP (RP4) and Ti plasmids has been identified as a circular pilin protein with a peptide bond between the amino and carboxyl terminus. Here, we review the key experiments that led to this discovery, and the present mechanistic model for pilin-precursor processing and the cyclization reaction. In addition, we discuss the implications for horizontal gene transfer in bacterial conjugation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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