Reciprocal Interactions between Membrane Bilayers and S. aureus PSMα3 Cross-α Amyloid Fibrils Account for Species-Specific Cytotoxicity

Ravit Malishev, Einav Tayeb-Fligelman, Shimrit David, Michael M. Meijler, Meytal Landau, Raz Jelinek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

Phenol-soluble modulin α3 (PSMα3) is a functional amyloid secreted by the pathogenic bacterium Staphylococcus aureus. This 22-residue peptide serves as a key virulence determinant, toxic to human cells via the formation of unique cross-α amyloid-like fibrils. We demonstrate that bilayer vesicles accelerated PSMα3 fibril formation, and the fibrils, in turn, inserted deeply into bilayers mimicking mammalian cell membranes, accounting for PSMα3 cellular toxicity. Importantly, a mere amphipathic helical conformation was not a sufficient determinant for membrane-activity of PSMα3, pointing to the functional role of cross-α fibrils. In contrast to deep insertion of PSMα3 into mammalian membrane bilayers, the peptide only interacted with the surface of bilayers mimicking bacterial membranes, which might be related to its lack of antibacterial activity. Together, our data provide mechanistic insight into species-specific toxicity of a key bacterial amyloid virulence factor via reciprocal interactions with membranes, and open new perspectives into amyloid-related cytotoxicity mediated by helical fibril structures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1431-1441
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Molecular Biology
Volume430
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - 11 May 2018

Keywords

  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • amyloid peptides
  • amyloid–membrane interaction
  • cross-alpha fibril
  • phenol-soluble modulins

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