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Chem Biol. 2013 Oct 24;20(10):1245-54. doi: 10.1016/j.chembiol.2013.07.017. Epub 2013 Sep 12.

Modulation of curli assembly and pellicle biofilm formation by chemical and protein chaperones.

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Umeå Centre for Microbial Research, Umeå University, 901 87 Umeå, Sweden; Department of Chemistry, Umeå University, 901 87 Umeå, Sweden.


Enteric bacteria assemble functional amyloid fibers, curli, on their surfaces that share structural and biochemical properties with disease-associated amyloids. Here, we test rationally designed 2-pyridone compounds for their ability to alter amyloid formation of the major curli subunit CsgA. We identified several compounds that discourage CsgA amyloid formation and several compounds that accelerate CsgA amyloid formation. The ability of inhibitor compounds to stop growing CsgA fibers was compared to the same property of the CsgA chaperone, CsgE. CsgE blocked CsgA amyloid assembly and arrested polymerization when added to actively polymerizing fibers. Additionally, CsgE and the 2-pyridone inhibitors prevented biofilm formation by Escherichia coli at the air-liquid interface of a static culture. We demonstrate that curli amyloid assembly and curli-dependent biofilm formation can be modulated not only by protein chaperones, but also by "chemical chaperones."

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