Understanding PilB, The Type IV Pilus (T4P) Assembly ATPase
Sukmana, Andreas Binar Aji
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The type IV pilus (T4P) is a dynamic long thin fiber found on the surface of many bacterial groups. T4P is a versatile nanomachine; it plays many important roles such as for surface attachment, virulence factor, and surface motility apparatus. This research focuses on understanding the kinetics of PilB, the T4P assembly ATPase. PilB crystal structure exhibits an elongated hexamer with 2-fold symmetry indicating a symmetric rotary mechanism model. Except for its structure, the symmetric rotary mechanism of PilB has not been demonstrated experimentally. Its conformation and relatively low activity constrained previous in vitro studies of PilB. This study identified PilB from thermophilic organism Chloracidobacterium thermophilum (Ct) to be a model for in vitro studies. An active CtPilB was successfully expressed and purified as a hexamer. Malachite green phosphate assay was used to examine CtPilB ATPase activity. The examination indicated that CtPilB is a robust ATPase with a complex kinetics profile. The profile has a stepwise incline in ATPase activity as a function of [ATP] that led to a decline in higher [ATP]. The decline was confirmed to be a substrate inhibition by the enzyme-coupled assay. As for the incline, the detailed mechanism is still less clear to explain the multiphasic profile. The overall incline did not conform with classical Michaelis-Menten kinetic but the first part of the incline was shown to conform with Michaelis-Menten kinetics. The complex kinetics profile of PilB is consistent with the symmetric rotary mechanism of catalysis.