Scientific reports

The propensity of the bacterial rodlin protein RdlB to form amyloid fibrils determines its function in Streptomyces coelicolor.

PMID 28211492


Streptomyces bacteria form reproductive aerial hyphae that are covered with a pattern of pairwise aligned fibrils called rodlets. The presence of the rodlet layer requires two homologous rodlin proteins, RdlA and RdlB, and the functional amyloid chaplin proteins, ChpA-H. In contrast to the redundancy shared among the eight chaplins, both RdlA and RdlB are indispensable for the establishment of this rodlet structure. By using a comprehensive biophysical approach combined with in vivo characterization we found that RdlB, but not RdlA, readily assembles into amyloid fibrils. The marked difference in amyloid propensity between these highly similar proteins could be largely attributed to a difference in amino acid sequence at just three sites. Further, an engineered RdlA protein in which these three key amino acids were replaced with the corresponding residues from RdlB could compensate for loss of RdlB and restore formation of the surface-exposed amyloid layer in bacteria. Our data reveal that RdlB is a new functional amyloid and provide a biophysical basis for the functional differences between the two rodlin proteins. This study enhances our understanding of how rodlin proteins contribute to formation of an outer fibrillar layer during spore morphogenesis in streptomycetes.