Researchers unravel the structure of bacterial appendages

A research team led by David Thanassi, PhD, of Stony Brook University, has used molecular biology and cryoelectron microscopy to successfully unravel the structure of bacterial appendages called P pili. These pili are deployed by uropathogenic strains of Escherichia coli bacteria that cause kidney infections. The structure of P pili had been elusive to scientists for many years. The finding, published in Nature Communications, is a key step in order to target P pili in the infection process.

Given their central role in initiating and sustaining infection, there is intense interest in understanding the mechanisms of pilus assembly and function. Our report of the structure of P pili may help to pave the way for a method to interfere with pilus assembly or function in…

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