Mating pair stabilization mediates bacterial conjugation species specificity.

Wen Wen Low, Joshua L C Wong, Leticia C Beltran, Chloe Seddon, Sophia David, Hok-Sau Kwong, Tatiana Bizeau, Fengbin Wang, Alejandro Peña, Tiago R D Costa, Bach Pham, Min Chen, Edward H Egelman, Konstantinos Beis, Gad Frankel


Bacterial conjugation mediates contact-dependent transfer of DNA from donor to recipient bacteria, thus facilitating the spread of virulence and resistance plasmids. Here we describe how variants of the plasmid-encoded donor outer membrane (OM) protein TraN cooperate with distinct OM receptors in recipients to mediate mating pair stabilization and efficient DNA transfer. We show that TraN from the plasmid pKpQIL (Klebsiella pneumoniae) interacts with OmpK36, plasmids from R100-1 (Shigella flexneri) and pSLT (Salmonella Typhimurium) interact with OmpW, and the prototypical F plasmid (Escherichia coli) interacts with OmpA. Cryo-EM analysis revealed that TraN