Localization of Type IV Pilin Polymerization Proteins in Clostridium perfringens
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Clostridium perfringens is a spore-forming anaerobic Gram-positive rod which has gliding motility through type IV Pili (TFP). Since the discovery of TFP in Gram-positive bacteria is relatively new, more studies are required to understand the mechanism and interaction of the proteins of this machinery. Moreover, the similarities between TFP and type 2 secretion system (T2SS) suggest that C. perfringens has also a T2SS. We studied the localization of TFP ATPases, PilB1, PilB2 and PilT in Bacillus subtilis to compare the localization in an organism other than C. perfringens and which lacks any known genes similar to TFP. Unlike the case in C. perfringens, PilB1 in B. subtilis localized to the poles in the absence of PilT, with some central foci at the future division sites. Colocalization of PilB1 was also studied with PilT and the results suggested that PilB1 needs PilT to migrate from the poles to the center. Localization of PilB2 in B. subtilis, was similar to the results in C. perfringens and to the localization of PilB1 in B. subtilis. We have not been able to co-express PilB2 with PilT yet. Succeeding in this study will help us better understand the interactions between PilB proteins and PilT. In another project, we studied a von Willebrand factor Type A-Domain Containing protein (vWA) which is secreted from C. perfringens strain 13. We overexpressed and purified this protein and tested the effects on mammalian cells. We found that the vWA is probably not a toxin but since it seems to bind to macrophage membranes, we propose that the vWA could be part of a toxin complex, probably the subunit of the complex that binds to the host cells.
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