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Microbiology. 2011 Jul;157(Pt 7):1920-8. doi: 10.1099/mic.0.049684-0. Epub 2011 Apr 14.

Alanine 32 in PilA is important for PilA stability and type IV pili function in Myxococcus xanthus.

Author information

1
Molecular Biology Institute, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), CA 90095, USA.

Abstract

Type IV pili (TFP) are membrane-anchored filaments with a number of important biological functions. In the model organism Myxococcus xanthus, TFP act as molecular engines that power social (S) motility through cycles of extension and retraction. TFP filaments consist of several thousand copies of a protein called PilA or pilin. PilA contains an N-terminal α-helix essential for TFP assembly and a C-terminal globular domain important for its activity. The role of the PilA sequence and its structure-function relationship in TFP-dependent S motility remain active areas of research. In this study, we identified an M. xanthus PilA mutant carrying an alanine to valine substitution at position 32 in the α-helix, which produced structurally intact but retraction-defective TFP. Characterization of this mutant and additional single-residue variants at this position in PilA demonstrated the critical role of alanine 32 in PilA stability, TFP assembly and retraction.

PMID:
21493683
PMCID:
PMC3167889
DOI:
10.1099/mic.0.049684-0
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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