PerspectiveBiochemistry

How Some Pili Pull

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Science  07 Dec 2007:
Vol. 318, Issue 5856, pp. 1558-1559
DOI: 10.1126/science.1151398

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  1. Stabilizing pili.

    Pili in Gram-positive bacteria consist of chains of identical subunits connected to the bacterial surface (left). Kang et al. show that these pili are stabilized by isopeptide bonds both between and within the subunits (middle). The bonds create an extended chain of covalent connectivity, thereby strengthening the pilus. Similar bonding features appear to be present in other cell surface adhesion proteins with related three-dimensional folds (right).