Send to

Choose Destination
Cell Microbiol. 2008 Jul;10(7):1413-20. doi: 10.1111/j.1462-5822.2008.01148.x. Epub 2008 Mar 26.

Polymerizing the fibre between bacteria and host cells: the biogenesis of functional amyloid fibres.

Author information

Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, University of Michigan, 830 North University, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.


Amyloid fibres are proteinaceous aggregates associated with several human diseases, including Alzheimer's, Huntington's and Creutzfeldt Jakob's. Disease-associated amyloid formation is the result of proteins that misfold and aggregate into beta sheet-rich fibre polymers. Cellular toxicity is readily associated with amyloidogenesis, although the molecular mechanism of toxicity remains unknown. Recently, a new class of 'functional' amyloid fibres was discovered that demonstrates that amyloids can be utilized as a productive part of cellular biology. These functional amyloids will provide unique insights into how amyloid formation can be controlled and made less cytotoxic. Bacteria produce some of the best-characterized functional amyloids, including a surface amyloid fibre called curli. Assembled by enteric bacteria, curli fibres mediate attachment to surfaces and host tissues. Some bacterial amyloids, like harpins and microcinE492, have exploited amyloid toxicity in a directed and functional manner. Here, we review and discuss the functional amyloids assembled by bacteria. Special emphasis will be paid to the biology of functional amyloid synthesis and the connections between bacterial physiology and pathology.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center