INTERFERING WITH THE FOLDING OF GROUP A STREPTOCOCAL PLILI PROTEINS
May 20, 2020
Gram-positive bacteria use their adhesive pili to attach to host cells during early stages of a bacterial infection. These extracellular hair-like appendages experience mechanical stresses of hundreds of picoNew- tons; however, the presence of an internal isopeptide bond prevents the pilus protein from unfolding. Here, we describe a method to interfere with nascent pili proteins through a peptide that mimics one of the β-strands of the molecule. By using AFM-based force spectroscopy, we study the isopeptide bond formation and the effect of the peptide in the elasticity of the pilus protein. This method could be used to afford a new strategy for mechanically targeted antibiotics by simply blocking the folding of the bacterial pilus protein.