S-layer proteins

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Electron micrograph of freeze-etched preparations of intact cell of Thermoanaerobacter thermohydrosulfuricus showing a hexagonal (p6) surface lattice. 'F' are flagellae overlying the S-layer. Scale bars = 100 nm.

Crystalline bacterial cell surface layers (S-layers) represent the outermost cell envelope component of many bacteria and archaea. They form a well-defined cell wall outside the cytoplasmic membrane and are produced as a response to specific environmental and ecological pressures. S-layer subunits can have lattices with oblique (p1, p2), square (p4) or hexagonal (p3, p6) symmetry with unit cell dimensions in the range of 3 to 30 nm.

Due to their high degree of structural regularity, S-layers represent interesting model systems for studies on structure, genetics, functions and dynamic aspects of assembly of supramolecular structures. S- layer technologies particularly provide new approaches for biotechnology, biomimetics, molecular nanotechnology, nanopatterning of surfaces and formation of ordered arrays of metal clusters or nanoparticles as required for nanoelectronics.

Related publications:
1) U.B. Sleytr, M. Sára, D. Pum, B. Schuster, P. Messner & C. Schäffer (2003), Biopolymers. A. Steinbüchel & S. Fahnestock. Weinheim, Germany, Wiley-VCH. 7, 285-338
2) E.M. Egelseer, I. Schocher, U.B. Sleytr & M. Sára (1996), J Bacteriol 178, 5602-9.
3) M. Jarosch, E.M. Egelseer, C. Huber, D. Moll, D. Mattanovich, U.B. Sleytr & M. Sára (2001), Microbiology 147, 1353-63.

Crystallographic work

Our group is working on SbsC protein of G. Stearothermophilus. Due to its properties, it forms 2D crystals. For getting 3D crystals deletion mutants had to be made (collaboration with E.M. Egelseer, M. Sára and U.B. Sleytr, Center for Ultrastructure Research, Vienna). We succeded in crystallizing C-termial deletion mutant (31-844 aa). Now, we are searching for good heavy atom derivatives which are essential for determining the structure.

T. Pavkov, M. Oberer, E.M. Egelseer, M. Sára, U.B. Sleytr & W. Keller (2003), Acta Cryst. D59, 1466-8. html pdf


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