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Identification of a novel gene, pilZ, essential for type 4 fimbrial biogenesis in Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

By R A Alm, A J Bodero, P D Free and J S Mattick


The opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa produces type 4 fimbriae which promote adhesion to epithelial cells and are associated with a form of surface translocation called twitching motility. We have used transposon mutagenesis to identify loci required for fimbrial assembly or function by screening for mutants that lack the spreading colony morphology characteristic of twitching motility. A subset of these mutants is resistant to fimbria-specific phage. One of these mutants (R270) was found to contain a transposon insertion in a new gene, termed pilZ, which is located on chromosomal SpeI fragment I at about 40 min on the P. aeruginosa map, a position remote from other loci involved in fimbrial biogenesis. pilZ appears to be linked to and possibly forms an operon with a gene, holB*, which is homologous to the gene encoding the delta' subunit of Escherichia coli DNA polymerase III. The product of the pilZ gene is a protein of 118 amino acids (predicted molecular weight, 12,895) which probably has a cytoplasmic location. PilZ appears to be a new class of protein which has not hitherto been represented in the sequence databases, and its function is unknown. Complementation studies indicate that pilZ is able to restore the expression of fimbriae on the surface of P. aeruginosa, as well as twitching motility and sensitivity to fimbria-specific phage when provided in trans to the R270 mutant

Topics: Research Article
Year: 1996
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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