, Volume 39, Issue 3, pp 469-480
Date: 17 Mar 2009

Solution structure of the major (Spy0128) and minor (Spy0125 and Spy0130) pili subunits from Streptococcus pyogenes

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Adhesion of the serotype M1 Streptococcus pyogenes strain SF370 to human tonsil explants and cultured keratinocytes requires extended polymeric surface structures called pili. In this important human pathogen, pili are assembled from three protein subunits: Spy0125, Spy0128 and Spy0130 through the action of sortase enzymes. For this study, the structural properties of these pili proteins have been investigated in solution. Spy0125 and Spy0128 display characteristics of globular, folded proteins. Circular dichroism suggests a largely β-sheet composition for Spy0128 and Spy0125; Spy0130 appears to contain little secondary structure. Each of the proteins adopts a monodisperse, monomeric state in solution as assessed by analytical ultracentrifugation. Further, small-angle X-ray scattering curves for Spy0125, Spy0128 and Spy0130 suggest each protein adopts an elongated shape, likely comprised of two domains, with similar maximal dimensions. Based on the scattering data, dummy atom models of each of the pili subunits have been reconstructed ab initio. This study provides the first insights into the structure of Streptococcus pyogenes minor pili subunits, and possible implications for protein function are discussed.

A. S. Solovyova, J. A. Pointon and P. R. Race have contributed equally to this work.
AUC&HYDRO 2008—Contributions from 17th International Symposium on Analytical Ultracentrifugation and Hydrodynamics, Newcastle, UK, 11–12 September 2008.