Proteinaceous, nonflagellar surface appendages constitute a variety of structures, including those known variably as fimbriae or pili. Constructed by distinct assembly pathways resulting in diverse morphologies, fimbriae have been described to mediate functions including adhesion, motility, and DNA transfer. As these structures can represent major diversifying elements among Escherichia and Salmonella isolates, multiple fimbrial classification schemes have been proposed and a number of mechanistic insights into fimbrial assembly and function have been made. Herein we describe the classifications and biochemistry of fimbriae assembled by the chaperone/usher, curli, and type IV pathways.
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