Architecture of the outer-membrane core complex from a conjugative type IV secretion system

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Title: Architecture of the outer-membrane core complex from a conjugative type IV secretion system
Authors: Amin, H
Ilangovan, A
Dias da Costa, T
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: Conjugation is one of the most important processes that bacteria utilize to spread antibiotic resistance genes among bacterial populations. Interbacterial DNA transfer requires a large double membrane-spanning nanomachine called the type 4 secretion system (T4SS) made up of the inner-membrane complex (IMC), the outer-membrane core complex (OMCC) and the conjugative pilus. The iconic F plasmid-encoded T4SS has been central in understanding conjugation for several decades, however atomic details of its structure are not known. Here, we report the structure of a complete conjugative OMCC encoded by the pED208 plasmid from E. coli, solved by cryo-electron microscopy at 3.3 Å resolution. This 2.1 MDa complex has a unique arrangement with two radial concentric rings, each having a different symmetry eventually contributing to remarkable differences in protein stoichiometry and flexibility in comparison to other OMCCs. Our structure suggests that F-OMCC is a highly dynamic complex, with implications for pilus extension and retraction during conjugation.
Issue Date: 25-Nov-2021
Date of Acceptance: 3-Nov-2021
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-27178-8
ISSN: 2041-1723
Publisher: Nature Research
Journal / Book Title: Nature Communications
Volume: 12
Copyright Statement: © The Author(s) 2021. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit
Sponsor/Funder: Wellcome Trust
Funder's Grant Number: 215164/Z/18/Z
Publication Status: Published
Open Access location:
Article Number: ARTN 6834
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Natural Sciences

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