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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2011 Jan;1808(1):482-9. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamem.2010.09.017. Epub 2010 Sep 29.

Expression, refolding, and initial structural characterization of the Y. pestis Ail outer membrane protein in lipids.

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  • 1Sanford Burnham Medical Research Institute, 10901 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.


Ail is an outer membrane protein and virulence factor of Yersinia pestis, an extremely pathogenic, category A biothreat agent, responsible for precipitating massive human plague pandemics throughout history. Due to its key role in bacterial adhesion to host cells and bacterial resistance to host defense, Ail is a key target for anti-plague therapy. However, little information is available about the molecular aspects of its function and interactions with the human host, and the structure of Ail is not known. Here we describe the recombinant expression, purification, refolding, and sample preparation of Ail for solution and solid-state NMR structural studies in lipid micelles and lipid bilayers. The initial NMR and CD spectra show that Ail adopts a well-defined transmembrane β-sheet conformation in lipids.

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