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© Mart Krupovic, Junfeng Liu
Scanning electron micrograph of Saccharolobus islandicus cells (light blue) infected with the lemon-shaped virus STSV2 (yellow). Artistic rendering by Ala Krupovic.
Publication : Cell

Convergent evolution in the supercoiling of prokaryotic flagellar filaments

Scientific Fields
Diseases
Organisms
Applications
Technique

Published in Cell - 15 Sep 2022

Kreutzberger MAB, Sonani RR, Liu J, Chatterjee S, Wang F, Sebastian AL, Biswas P, Ewing C, Zheng W, Poly F, Frankel G, Luisi BF, Calladine CR, Krupovic M, Scharf BE, Egelman EH

Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 36057255

Link to DOI – S0092-8674(22)00996-510.1016/j.cell.2022.08.009

Cell 2022 Sep; 185(19): 3487-3500.e14

The supercoiling of bacterial and archaeal flagellar filaments is required for motility. Archaeal flagellar filaments have no homology to their bacterial counterparts and are instead homologs of bacterial type IV pili. How these prokaryotic flagellar filaments, each composed of thousands of copies of identical subunits, can form stable supercoils under torsional stress is a fascinating puzzle for which structural insights have been elusive. Advances in cryoelectron microscopy (cryo-EM) make it now possible to directly visualize the basis for supercoiling, and here, we show the atomic structures of supercoiled bacterial and archaeal flagellar filaments. For the bacterial flagellar filament, we identify 11 distinct protofilament conformations with three broad classes of inter-protomer interface. For the archaeal flagellar filament, 10 protofilaments form a supercoil geometry supported by 10 distinct conformations, with one inter-protomer discontinuity creating a seam inside of the curve. Our results suggest that convergent evolution has yielded stable superhelical geometries that enable microbial locomotion.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36057255