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PitA is the putative tip adhesin of the pilus islet 2 (PI-2)-encoded sortase-dependent pilus in the Gram-positive Streptococcus oralis, an opportunistic pathogen that often flourishes within the diseased human oral cavity. Early colonization by S. oralis and its interaction with Actinomyces oris seeds the development of oral biofilm or dental plaque. Here, the PI-2 pilus plays a vital role in mediating adherence to host surfaces and other bacteria. A recombinant form of the PitA adhesin has now been produced and crystallized. Owing to the large size (∼100 kDa), flexibility and complicated folding of PitA, obtaining diffraction-quality crystals has been a challenge. However, by the use of limited proteolysis with α-chymotrypsin, the diffraction quality of the PitA crystals was considerably enhanced to 2.16 Å resolution. These crystals belonged to space group P1, with unit-cell parameters a = 61.48, b = 70.87, c = 82.46 Å, α = 80.08, β = 87.02, γ = 87.70°. The anomalous signal from the terbium derivative of α-chymotrypsin-treated PitA crystals prepared with terbium crystallophore (Tb-Xo4) was sufficient to obtain an interpretable electron-density map via terbium SAD phasing.

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Supplementary Figures S1 and S2.

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