Human Fibrinogen Inhibits Amyloid Assembly of Most Phenol-Soluble Modulins from Staphylococcus aureus

Zahra Najarzadeh, Janni Nielsen, Azad Farzadfard, Vita Sereikaite, Kristian Strømgaard, Rikke Louise Meyer, Daniel Erik Otzen

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Functional amyloids are highly organized protein/peptide structures that inter alia promote biofilm formation in different bacteria. One such example is provided by a family of 20-45 residue-long peptides called phenol-soluble modulins (PSMs) from Staphylococcus aureus. External components such as eukaryotic host proteins, which alter self-assembly of bacterial amyloids, can affect the biofilm matrix. Here, we studied the effect of the highly prevalent human plasma protein fibrinogen (Fg) on fibrillation of PSMs. Fg inhibits or suppresses fibrillation of most PSMs tested (PSMα1, PSMβ1, and PSMβ2) except for PSMα3, whose already rapid aggregation is accelerated even further by Fg but leads to amorphous β-rich aggregates rather than fibrils. Fg also induces PSMβ2 to form amorphous aggregates and diverts PSMα1 into off-pathway oligomers which consist of both Fg and PSMα1 and cannot seed fibrillation. Peptide arrays showed that Fg bound to the N-terminus of PSMα1, while it bound to the entire length of PSMα3 (except the C terminus) and to the C-termini of PSMβ1 and PSMβ2. The latter peptides are all positively charged, while Fg is negatively charged at physiological pH. The positive charges complement Fg's net negative charge of -7.6 at pH 7.4. Fg's ability to inhibit PSM fibrillation reveals a potential host-defense mechanism to prevent bacterial biofilm growth and infections in the human body.

Original languageEnglish
JournalACS Omega
Pages (from-to)21960-21970
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021


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