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Journal of Bacteriology


Geisel School of Medicine


Vibrio cholerae is the etiological agent of the acute intestinal disorder cholera. The toxin-coregulated pilus (TCP), a type IVb pilus, is an essential virulence factor of V. cholerae. Recent work has shown TcpB is a large minor pilin encoded within the tcp operon. TcpB contributes to efficient pilus formation and is essential for all TCP functions. Here we have initiated a detailed, targeted mutagenesis approach to further characterize this salient TCP component. We have identified (thus far) 20 residues of TcpB, which affect either the steady state level of TcpB or alter one or more TCP functions. This study provides the solid framework for further understanding of the complex role of TcpB and will be of use upon determination of the crystal structure of TcpB or related minor pilin orthologs of type IVb pilus systems.