Removal of Pseudomonas type IV pili by a small RNA virus

Jirapat Thongchol, Zihao Yu, Laith Harb, Yiruo Lin, Matthias Koch, Matthew Theodore, Utkarsh Narsaria, Joshua Shaevitz, Zemer Gitai, Yinghao Wu, Junjie Zhang, Lanying Zeng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The retractile type IV pilus (T4P) is important for virulence of the opportunistic human pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The single-stranded RNA (ssRNA) phage PP7 binds to T4P and is brought to the cell surface through pilus retraction. Using fluorescence microscopy, we discovered that PP7 detaches T4P, which impairs cell motility and restricts the pathogen’s virulence. Using cryo–electron microscopy, mutagenesis, optical trapping, and Langevin dynamics simulation, we resolved the structure of PP7, T4P, and the PP7/T4P complex and showed that T4P detachment is driven by the affinity between the phage maturation protein and its bound pilin, plus the pilus retraction force and speed, and pilus bending. Pilus detachment may be widespread among other ssRNA phages and their retractile pilus systems and offers new prospects for antibacterial prophylaxis and therapeutics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbereadl0635
Issue number6691
StatePublished - Apr 5 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'Removal of Pseudomonas type IV pili by a small RNA virus'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this