Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

A phage protein that inhibits the bacterial ATPase required for type IV pilus assembly.

PMID 25049409


Type IV pili (TFPs) are required for bacterial twitching motility and for phage infection in the opportunistic human pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Here we describe a phage-encoded protein, D3112 protein gp05 (hereafter referred to as Tip, representing twitching inhibitory protein), whose expression is necessary and sufficient to mediate the inhibition of twitching motility. Tip interacts with and blocks the activity of bacterial-encoded PilB, the TFP assembly/extension ATPase, at an internal 40-aa region unique to PilB. Tip expression results in the loss of surface piliation. Based on these observations and the fact that many P. aeruginosa phages require TFPs for infection, Tip-mediated twitching inhibition may represent a generalized strategy for superinfection exclusion. Moreover, because TFPs are required for full virulence, PilB may be an attractive target for the development of novel antiinfectives.

Related Materials