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PLOS ONE  2013 

Evolutionary Insight into the Functional Amyloids of the Pseudomonads

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0076630

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Functional bacterial amyloids (FuBA) are important components in many environmental biofilms where they provide structural integrity to the biofilm, mediate bacterial aggregation and may function as virulence factor by binding specifically to host cell molecules. A novel FuBA system, the Fap system, was previously characterized in the genus Pseudomonas, however, very little is known about the phylogenetic diversity of bacteria with the genetic capacity to apply this system. Studies of genomes and public metagenomes from a diverse range of habitats showed that the Fap system is restricted to only three classes in the phylum Proteobacteria, the Beta-, Gamma- and Deltaproteobacteria. The structural organization of the fap genes into a single fapABCDEF operon is well conserved with minor variations such as a frequent deletion of fapA. A high degree of variation was seen within the primary structure of the major Fap fibril monomers, FapC, whereas the minor monomers, FapB, showed less sequence variation. Comparison of phylogenetic trees based on Fap proteins and the 16S rRNA gene of the corresponding bacteria showed remarkably similar overall topology. This indicates, that horizontal gene transfer is an infrequent event in the evolution of the Fap system.


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