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Common components in the assembly of type 4 fimbriae, DNA transfer systems, filamentous phage and protein‐secretion apparatus: a general system for the formation of surface‐associated protein complexes

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The Pseudomonas aeruginosa genes pilB‐D and pilQ are necessary for the assembly of type 4 fimbriae. Homologues of these genes and of the subunit (pilin) gene have been described in various different bacterial species, but not always in association with type 4 fimbrial biosynthesis and function. Pil‐like proteins are also involved in protein secretion, DNA transfer by conjugation and transformation, and morphogenesis of filamentous bacteriophages. It seems likely that the Pil homologues function in the processing and export of proteins resembling type 4 fimbrial sub‐units, and in their organization into fimbrial‐like structures. These may either be true type 4 fimbriae, or components of protein complexes which act in the transport of macromolecules (DNA or protein) into or out of the cell. Some PilB‐like and PilQ‐like proteins are apparently also involved in the assembly of non‐type 4 polymeric structures (filamentous phage virions and conjugative pili). The diverse studies summarized in this review are providing insight into an extensive infrastructural system which appears to be utilized in the formation of a variety of cell surface‐associated complexes.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Centre for Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland 4072, Australia.

Publication date: October 1, 1993

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