PhD candidate Sara Kilmury’s work showing that type IV pilins regulate their own expression through interactions with the PilS sensor kinase was published today in PNAS. She found that the highly conserved N-terminus of PilA – even from the short pilins of Geobacter – is sufficient to repress pilin expression. Her data suggest that PilA’s interactions with PilS maintain it in a phosphatase state to prevent further pilin transcription, but that interactions must be specific, because some minor pilins and PilA mutants interact but fail to reduce pilin expression. Congratulations Sara!
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