Indexed on: 28 May '19Published on: 29 Mar '19Published in: Nature communications
The physiological or pathological formation of fibrils often relies on molecular-scale nucleators that finely control the kinetics and structural features. However, mechanistic understanding of how protein nucleators mediate fibril formation in cells remains elusive. Here, we develop a CsgB-decorated DNA origami (CB-origami) to mimic protein nucleators in Escherichia coli biofilm that direct curli polymerization. We show that CB-origami directs curli subunit CsgA monomers to form oligomers and then accelerates fibril formation by increasing the proliferation rate of primary pathways. Fibrils grow either out from (departure mode) or towards the nucleators (arrival mode), implying two distinct roles of CsgB: as nucleation sites and as trap sites to capture growing nanofibrils in vicinity. Curli polymerization follows typical stop-and-go dynamics but exhibits a higher instantaneous elongation rate compared with independent fibril growth. This origami nucleator thus provides an in vitro platform for mechanistically probing molecular nucleation and controlling directional fibril polymerization for bionanotechnology.