Architectures and biogenesis of non-flagellar protein appendages in Gram-negative bacteria

EMBO J. 2008 Sep 3;27(17):2271-80. doi: 10.1038/emboj.2008.155.


Bacteria commonly expose non-flagellar proteinaceous appendages on their outer surfaces. These extracellular structures, called pill or fimbriae, are employed in attachment and invasion, biofilm formation, cell motility or protein and DNA transport across membranes. Over the past 15 years, the power of molecular and structural techniques has revolutionalized our understanding of the biogenesis, structure, function and mode of action of these bacterial organelles. Here, we review the five known classes of Gram-negative non-flagellar appendages from a biosynthetic and structural point of view.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / chemistry*
  • Fimbriae Proteins / chemistry
  • Fimbriae, Bacterial / chemistry*
  • Fimbriae, Bacterial / classification
  • Fimbriae, Bacterial / ultrastructure*
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria / chemistry*
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria / physiology
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria / ultrastructure*
  • Models, Molecular
  • Multiprotein Complexes / chemistry


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Multiprotein Complexes
  • Fimbriae Proteins
  • Crl protein, Bacteria