IMC Colloquium Series: "Understanding Type IV pilus Structure"

Friday, February 24, 2012
11:30 - 12:30

Dr. Lisa Craig
Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, SFU


Type IV pili are hair-like filaments on the surfaces of a number of pathogenic bacteria. These pili mediate many critical functions in bacterial colonization and survival in the host and are thus key virulence factors. They are comprised of thousands of copies of a single subunit, pilin. We have used x-ray crystallography to obtain atomic resolution structures of the pilin subunits, and electron microscopy, deuterium exchange mass spectrometry and computational modeling to determine the structure of the pilus filaments and to predict the mechanism by which these pili are assembled. I will discuss this methodology and present our results for Type IV pili from several bacterial pathogens including Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Vibrio cholera.