The lifestyle switch protein Bd0108 of Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus is an intrinsically disordered protein

Gerd Prehna, Benjamin E. Ramirez, Andrew L. Lovering, Vladimir N. Uversky (Editor)

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3 Citations (Scopus)
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Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus is a δ-proteobacterium that preys upon Salmonella spp., E. coli, and other Gram-negative bacteria. Bdellovibrio can grow axenically (host-independent, HI, rare and mutation-driven) or subsist via a predatory lifecycle (host-dependent, HD, the usual case). Upon contact with prey, B. bacteriovorus enters the host periplasm from where it slowly drains the host cytosol of nutrients for its own replication. At the core of this mechanism is a retractile pilus, whose architecture is regulated by the protein Bd0108 and its interaction with the neighboring gene product Bd0109. Deletion of bd0108 results in negligible pilus formation, whereas an internal deletion (the one that instigates host-independence) causes mis-regulation of pilus length. These mutations, along with a suite of naturally occurring bd0108 mutant strains, act to control the entry to HI growth. To further study the molecular mechanism of predatory regulation, we focused on the apparent lifecycle switch protein Bd0108. Here we characterize the solution structure and dynamics of Bd0108 using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy complemented with additional biophysical methods. We then explore the interaction between Bd0108 and Bd0109 in detail utilizing isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC) and NMR spectroscopy. Together our results demonstrate that Bd0108 is an intrinsically disordered protein (IDP) and that the interaction with Bd0109 is of low affinity. Furthermore, we observe that Bd0108 retains an IDP nature while binding Bd0109. From our data we conclude that Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus utilizes an intrinsically disordered protein to regulate its pilus and control predation signaling.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere115390
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 16 Dec 2014


  • Bacterial pathogens
  • Bdellovibrio
  • Intrinsically disordered proteins
  • Isothermal titration calorimetry
  • NMR spectroscopy
  • Periplasm
  • Pili and fimbriae
  • Predation


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