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J Biol Chem. 2004 Oct 1;279(40):41706-14. Epub 2004 Jul 29.

BBK32, a fibronectin binding MSCRAMM from Borrelia burgdorferi, contains a disordered region that undergoes a conformational change on ligand binding.

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Center for Extracellular Matrix Biology, Albert B. Alkek Institute of Biosciences and Technology, Texas A and M University System Health Science Center, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.


BBK32 is a fibronectin-binding lipoprotein on Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease. Analysis using secondary structure prediction programs suggested that BBK32 is composed of two domains, an N-terminal segment lacking well defined secondary structure and a C-terminal segment composed largely of alpha-helices. Analysis of purified recombinant forms of the two domains by circular dichroism spectroscopy, gel permeation chromatography, and intrinsic viscosity determination were consistent with an N-terminal-extended, unstructured segment and a C-terminal globular domain in BBK32. Solid phase binding experiments suggest that the unstructured N-terminal domain binds fibronectin. Analysis of changes in circular dichroism spectra of the N-terminal segment of BBK32 upon binding of the N-terminal domain of fibronectin revealed an increase in beta-sheet content in the complex. Hence, BBK32, which belongs to a different family of proteins and shows no overall sequence similarity with the fibronectin binding MSCRAMMs (microbial surface components recognizing adhesive matrix molecules) of Gram-positive bacteria, binds fibronectin by a mechanism that is reminiscent of the "tandem beta-zipper" previously demonstrated for the fibronectin binding of streptococcal adhesins.

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