Characterization of pilQ, a new gene required for the biogenesis of type 4 fimbriae in Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Mol Microbiol. 1993 Aug;9(4):857-68. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2958.1993.tb01744.x.


Type 4 fimbriae are produced by a variety of pathogens, in which they appear to function in adhesion to epithelial cells, and in a form of surface translocation called twitching motility. Using transposon mutagenesis of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, we have identified a new locus required for fimbrial assembly. This locus contains the gene pilQ which encodes a 77 kDa protein with an N-terminal hydrophobic signal sequence characteristic of secretory proteins. pilQ mutants lack the spreading colony morphology characteristic of twitching motility, are devoid of fimbriae, and are resistant to the fimbrial-specific bacteriophage PO4. The pilQ gene was mapped to Spel fragment 2, which is located at 0-5 minutes on the P. aeruginosa PAO1 chromosome, and thus it is not closely linked to the previously characterized pilA-D, pilS,R or pilT genes. The pilQ region also contains ponA, aroK and aroB-like genes in an organization very similar to that of corresponding genes in Escherichia coli and Haemophilus influenzae. The predicted amino acid sequence of PilQ shows homology to the PulD protein of Klebsiella oxytoca and related outer membrane proteins which have been found in association with diverse functions in other species including protein secretion, DNA uptake and assembly of filamentous phage. PilQ had the highest overall homology to an outer membrane antigen from Neisseria gonorrhoeae, encoded by omc, that may fulfil the same role in type 4 fimbrial assembly in this species.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / genetics*
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Base Sequence
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Chromosomes, Bacterial
  • Consensus Sequence
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Fimbriae Proteins*
  • Fimbriae, Bacterial / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial*
  • Genes, Bacterial*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutagenesis, Insertional
  • Phenotype
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / genetics*
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / metabolism
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / ultrastructure
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Species Specificity


  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins
  • pilQ protein, bacteria
  • Fimbriae Proteins

Associated data

  • GENBANK/L1386
  • GENBANK/L13865
  • GENBANK/L13866