Structural determinants of actinomyces sortase srtC2 required for membrane localization and assembly of type 2 fimbriae for interbacterial coaggregation and oral biofilm formation

Chenggang Wu, Arunima Mishra, Melissa E. Reardon, I. Hsiu Huang, Sarah C. Counts, Asis Das, Hung Ton-That

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Scopus citations


As a pioneer colonizer of the oral cavity, Actinomyces oris expresses proteinaceous pili (also called fimbriae) to mediate the following two key events in biofilm formation: adherence to saliva deposits on enamel and interbacterial associations. Assembly of type 2 fimbriae that directly facilitate coaggregation with oral streptococci and Actinomyces biofilm development requires the class C sortase SrtC2. Although the general sortase-associated mechanisms have been elucidated, several structural attributes unique to the class C sortases require functional investigation. Mutational studies reported here suggest that the N-terminal transmembrane (TM) region of SrtC2, predicted to contain a signal peptide sequence, is cleaved off the mature protein and that this processing is critical for the proper integration of the enzyme at the cytoplasmic membrane, which is mediated by the extended hydrophobic C terminus containing a TM domain and a cytoplasmic tail. Deletion of this putative TM or the entire cytoplasmic domain abolished the enzyme localization and functionality. Alanine substitution of the conserved catalytic Cys-His dyad abrogated the SrtC2 enzymatic activity. In contrast, mutations designed to alter a "lid" domain that covers the catalytic pocket of a class C sortase showed no effect on enzyme activity. Finally, each of the deleterious mutations that affected SrtC2 activity or membrane localization also eliminated Actinomyces species biofilm development and bacterial coaggregation with streptococci. We conclude that the N terminus of SrtC2, which contains the signal sequence, is required for proper protein translocation and maturation, while the extended C-terminal hydrophobic region serves as a stable membrane anchor for proper enzyme functionality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2531-2539
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Bacteriology
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1 May 2012


Cite this