Nuclear magnetic resonance solution structure of PisI, a group B immunity protein that provides protection against the type IIa bacteriocin piscicolin 126, PisA

Biochemistry. 2008 Jun 17;47(24):6427-36. doi: 10.1021/bi8004076. Epub 2008 May 24.


Lactic acid bacteria produce and secrete bacteriocins. These bacteriocins are potent antimicrobial peptides that are active against other closely related bacteria. As a means of self-protection, producer organisms also express immunity proteins. Immunity proteins are generally located on the same genetic locus and are cotranscribed with the bacteriocin. Although some cross immunity between bacteriocins has been observed, immunity proteins are typically highly specific. Immunity proteins for the type IIa bacteriocins range from 81 to 115 amino acids in length and display substantial variation in their sequences. Nonetheless, such immunity proteins have been classified into three groupings (groups A, B, and C) according to sequence homology. The structures of a group C (ImB2) and two group A (EntA-im and PedB) immunity proteins have previously been reported. We herein report the nuclear magnetic resonance solution structure of the remaining class of the type IIa immunity proteins. PisI, a 98-amino acid protein, is a group B immunity protein conferring immunity against piscicolin 126 (PisA). Like ImB2, EntA-im, and PedB, PisI folds into a globular protein in aqueous solution and contains an antiparallel four-helix bundle. Compared to ImB2 and EntA-im, PisI has a substantially longer and more flexible N-terminus, but a shorter C-terminus. No direct interaction between the bacteriocin and immunity protein is observed by NMR in either aqueous or membrane mimicking environments. This further suggests that the mechanism that mediates immunity is not due to a direct bacteriocin-immunity protein interaction but rather is receptor-mediated. It has now been confirmed that the four-helix bundle is indeed a structural motif among the type IIa immunity proteins.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Motifs
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Bacteriocins / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Bacteriocins / immunology
  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • Lactobacillaceae / chemistry
  • Lactobacillaceae / immunology
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Protein Structure, Secondary


  • Bacteriocins
  • piscicolin 126

Associated data

  • PDB/2K19