Curli Biogenesis: Bacterial Amyloid Assembly by the Type VIII Secretion Pathway

Sujeet Bhoite, Nani van Gerven, Matthew R Chapman, Han Remaut

Research output: Contribution to journalScientific reviewpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


In 1989, Normark and coworkers reported on fibrous surface structures called curli on strains of Escherichia coli that were suspected of causing bovine mastitis. Subsequent work by many groups has revealed an elegant and highly regulated curli biogenesis pathway also referred to as the type VIII secretion system. Curli biogenesis is governed by two divergently transcribed operons, csgBAC and csgDEFG. The csgBAC operon encodes the structural subunits of curli, CsgA and CsgB, along with a chaperone-like protein, CsgC. The csgDEFG operon encodes the accessory proteins required for efficient transcription, secretion, and assembly of the curli fiber. CsgA and CsgB are secreted as largely unstructured proteins and transition to β-rich structures that aggregate into regular fibers at the cell surface. Since both of these proteins have been shown to be amyloidogenic in nature, the correct spatiotemporal synthesis of the curli fiber is of paramount importance for proper functioning and viability. Gram-negative bacteria have evolved an elegant machinery for the safe handling, secretion, and extracellular assembly of these amyloidogenic proteins.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberESP-0037-2018
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalEcoSal Plus
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019


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