Haemophilus influenzae pili are composite structures assembled via the HifB chaperone.


Journal Article

Haemophilus influenzae is a Gram-negative bacterium that represents a common cause of human disease. Disease due to this organism begins with colonization of the upper respiratory mucosa, a process facilitated by adhesive fibers called pili. In the present study, we investigated the structure and assembly of H. influenzae pili. Examination of pili by electron microscopy using quick-freeze, deep-etch and immunogold techniques revealed the presence of two distinct subassemblies, including a flexible two-stranded helical rod comprised of HifA and a short, thin, distal tip structure containing HifD. Genetic and biochemical studies demonstrated that the biogenesis of H. influenzae pili is dependent on a periplasmic chaperone called HifB, which belongs to the PapD family of immunoglobulin-like chaperones. HifB bound directly to HifA and HifD, forming HifB-HifA and HifB-HifD complexes, which were purified from periplasmic extracts by ion-exchange chromatography. Continued investigation of the biogenesis of H. influenzae pili should provide general insights into organelle development and may suggest novel strategies for disease prevention.

Full Text

Cited Authors

  • St Geme, JW; Pinkner, JS; Krasan, GP; Heuser, J; Bullitt, E; Smith, AL; Hultgren, SJ

Published Date

  • October 1996

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 93 / 21

Start / End Page

  • 11913 - 11918

PubMed ID

  • 8876237

Pubmed Central ID

  • 8876237

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1091-6490

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0027-8424

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1073/pnas.93.21.11913


  • eng