Life 2013, 3(1), 86-117; doi:10.3390/life3010086

Surface Appendages of Archaea: Structure, Function, Genetics and Assembly

Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences, Queen's University, Kingston Ontario, K7L 3N6, Canada
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 29 November 2012; in revised form: 9 January 2013 / Accepted: 9 January 2013 / Published: 24 January 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Extremophiles and Extreme Environments)
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Abstract: Organisms representing diverse subgroupings of the Domain Archaea are known to possess unusual surface structures. These can include ones unique to Archaea such as cannulae and hami as well as archaella (archaeal flagella) and various types of pili that superficially resemble their namesakes in Bacteria, although with significant differences. Major advances have occurred particularly in the study of archaella and pili using model organisms with recently developed advanced genetic tools. There is common use of a type IV pili-model of assembly for several archaeal surface structures including archaella, certain pili and sugar binding structures termed bindosomes. In addition, there are widespread posttranslational modifications of archaellins and pilins with N-linked glycans, with some containing novel sugars. Archaeal surface structures are involved in such diverse functions as swimming, attachment to surfaces, cell to cell contact resulting in genetic transfer, biofilm formation, and possible intercellular communication. Sometimes functions are co-dependent on other surface structures. These structures and the regulation of their assembly are important features that allow various Archaea, including thermoacidophilic, hyperthermophilic, halophilic, and anaerobic ones, to survive and thrive in the extreme environments that are commonly inhabited by members of this domain.
Keywords: archaella; archaeal flagella; archaella; type IV pili; hami; cannulae; bindosome; glycosylation

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MDPI and ACS Style

Jarrell, K.F.; Ding, Y.; Nair, D.B.; Siu, S. Surface Appendages of Archaea: Structure, Function, Genetics and Assembly. Life 2013, 3, 86-117.

AMA Style

Jarrell KF, Ding Y, Nair DB, Siu S. Surface Appendages of Archaea: Structure, Function, Genetics and Assembly. Life. 2013; 3(1):86-117.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Jarrell, Ken F.; Ding, Yan; Nair, Divya B.; Siu, Sarah. 2013. "Surface Appendages of Archaea: Structure, Function, Genetics and Assembly." Life 3, no. 1: 86-117.

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