Differentiating pili expressed by enterotoxigenic and uropathogenic escherichia coli with optical tweezers
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) attach to the host epithelium in the intestinal tract via specific adhesion organelles expressed on the cell membrane. We investigate, by force measuring optical tweezers, the intrinsic biomechanical properties and kinetics of the colonization factor I (CFA/I) at a single pilus level. The measurements indicate that CFA/I pili are helix-like structures that can both be unraveled to a linearized polymer by applying a small external force, 7.5 ± 1.5 pN but also regain its helix-like structure when the applied force is reduced. The data confirm that layer-to-layer interactions, that stabilize the helix-like structure, are much weaker than the interactions found in pili expressed by Uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC). It is also found, contrary to previous results assessed from UPEC pili, that the CFA/I undergo in some cases a sudden structural change, a force drop of ~2 pN, when unraveled from the helix-like configuration to an open helical linearized fiber. These data suggest a rotation of the filament about its helical axis, followed by a region in which the force required to extend the pili further increases rapidly. During this final elongation to a super-extended fiber, CFA/I pili do not show any structural transition as seen for UPEC pili. In addition, the CFA/I pili show faster kinetics than UPEC pili that allows for a larger dynamic regime of in vivo shear forces. The unfolding and refolding possibility points toward an organelle that has evolved to allow for dynamic damping of external forces and handling of harsh motion without breaking.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-21492OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-21492DiVA: diva2:211340