The product of the papD gene of uropathogenic Escherichia coli is required for the biogenesis of digalactoside-binding P pili. Mutations within papD result in complete degradation of the major pilus subunit, PapA, and of the pilinlike proteins PapE and PapF and also cause partial breakdown of the PapG adhesin. The papD gene was sequenced, and the gene product was purified from the periplasm. The deduced amino acid sequence and the N-terminal sequence obtained from the purified protein revealed that PapD is a basic and hydrophilic peripheral protein. A periplasmic complex between PapD and PapE was purified from cells that overproduced and accumulated these proteins in the periplasm. Antibodies raised against this complex reacted with purified wild-type P pili but not with pili purified from a papE mutant. In contrast, anti-PapD serum did not react with purified pili or with the culture fluid of piliated cells. However, this serum was able to specifically precipitate the PapE protein from periplasmic extracts, confirming that PapD and PapE were associated as a complex. It is suggested that PapD functions in P-pilus biogenesis as a periplasmic transport protein. Probably PapD forms complexes with pilus subunits at the outer surface of the inner membrane and transports them in a stable configuration across the periplasmic space before delivering them to the site(s) of pilus polymerization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6052-6058
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of bacteriology
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1989


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