Apr 2, 2020

Cross-talk between individual phenol soluble modulins in S. aureus biofilm formation

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
M. Zaman, Maria Andreasen


The infective ability of the opportunistic pathogen Staphylococcus aureus is associated with biofilm mediated resistance to host immune response and even disinfectants and indeed S. aureus is recognized as the most frequent cause of biofilm associated infections. Phenol-soluble modulin (PSM) peptides serve various roles in pathogenicity while also comprising the structural scaffold of S. aureus biofilms through self-assembly into functional amyloids, but the role of the individual PSMs during biofilm formation remains poorly understood and the molecular pathways of PSM self-assembly have proved challenging to identify. Here, we show a high degree of cooperation between individual PSMs during the formation of functional amyloids in biofilm formation. The fast aggregating PSM3 initiates the aggregation by forming unstable aggregates capable of seeding the formation of aggregates by other PSM peptides into the formation of stable amyloid structures. Using chemical kinetics along with spectroscopic techniques we dissect the molecular mechanism of aggregation of the individual peptides to show that PSM1, PSM3 and PSM{beta}1 display secondary nucleation whereas PSM{beta}2 aggregates through primary nucleation and elongation. Our find...Continue Reading

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