Curli provide the template for understanding controlled amyloid propagation.

Xuan Wang, Matthew R. Chapman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


The uncontrolled formation of amyloid fibers is the hallmark of more than twenty human diseases. In contrast to disease-associated amyloids, which are the products of protein misfolding, E. coli assembles functional amyloid fibers called curli on its surface using an elegant biogenesis machine. Composed of a major subunit, CsgA, and a minor subunit, CsgB, curli play important roles in host cell adhesion, long-term survival and other bacterial community behaviors. Assembly of curli fibers is a template-directed conversion process where membrane-tethered CsgB initiates CsgA polymerization. The CsgA amyloid core is composed of five imperfect repeating units. In a series of in vivo and in vitro experiments, we determined the sequence and structural determinants that guide the initiation and propagation of CsgA polymers. The CsgA N- and C-terminal repeating units govern its polymerization and responsiveness to CsgB. Specifically, conserved glutamine and asparagine residues present in the CsgA N- and C-terminal repeating units are required for CsgB-mediated nucleation and efficient self-assembly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-60
Number of pages4
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology
  • Infectious Diseases


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