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© Research
Publication : The EMBO journal

Deep mutational scanning of the Neisseria meningitidis major pilin reveals the importance of pilus tip-mediated adhesion.

Scientific Fields
Diseases
Organisms
Applications
Technique

Published in The EMBO journal - 15 Nov 2019

Kennouche P, Charles-Orszag A, Nishiguchi D, Goussard S, Imhaus AF, Dupré M, Chamot-Rooke J, Duménil G,

Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 31609039

Link to DOI [DOI] – 10.15252/embj.2019102145

EMBO J 2019 11; 38(22): e102145

Type IV pili (TFP) are multifunctional micrometer-long filaments expressed at the surface of many prokaryotes. In Neisseria meningitidis, TFP are crucial for virulence. Indeed, these homopolymers of the major pilin PilE mediate interbacterial aggregation and adhesion to host cells. However, the mechanisms behind these functions remain unclear. Here, we simultaneously determined regions of PilE involved in pilus display, auto-aggregation, and adhesion by using deep mutational scanning and started mining this extensive functional map. For auto-aggregation, pili must reach a minimum length to allow pilus-pilus interactions through an electropositive cluster of residues centered around Lys140. For adhesion, results point to a key role for the tip of the pilus. Accordingly, purified pili interacting with host cells initially bind via their tip-located major pilin and then along their length. Overall, these results identify functional domains of PilE and support a direct role of the major pilin in TFP-dependent aggregation and adhesion.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31609039