The chaperone-usher (CU) pathway is dedicated to the biogenesis of surface structures termed pili or fimbriae that play indispensable roles in the pathogenesis of a wide range of bacteria (1-4). Pili are hair-like fibers composed of multiple different subunit proteins. They are typically involved in adhesion, allowing bacteria to establish a foothold within the host. Following attachment, pili modulate host cell signaling pathways, promote or inhibit host cell invasion, and mediate bacterium-bacterium interactions leading to formation of community structures such as biofilms (5, 6). Gram-negative bacteria express multiple CU pili that contribute to their ability to colonize diverse environmental niches (1, 7-10). Pili thus function at the host-pathogen interface to both initiate and sustain infection and represent attractive therapeutic targets.
- Chaperone-usher pili
- Pilus assembly
- Pilus function
- Pilus-directed therapeutic approaches
- Subunit proteins