Molecular Biology

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Stefan Knight's Home @ Work Page

Research in my group is focused on understanding the molecular basis for assembly and function of bacterial adhesion organelles. The assembly of such organelles via the chaperone/usher pathway offers unique possibilities to study protein folding, fiber assembly, and secretion processes, and paves the way for development of novel ways of fighting not only bacterial but also protein misfolding diseases.

Group members
Stefan Knight
Anton Zavialov
Yu Xiaodi (Dee)
Glareh Askarieh

Former group members
Devapriya Choudhury (now at JNU, New Dehli)
Jenny Mackenzie (nee Berglund) (now at Oslo University, Oslo)


Type-1 piliated E. coli

  Selected publications
Hung D, Knight SD, Woods R, Pinkner J & Hultgren S (1996): Molecular basis of two subfamilies of immunoglobulin-like chaperones. EMBO J. 15:3792-3805.

Knight S, Mulvey M & Pinkner J (1997): Crystallization and preliminary X-ray diffraction studies of the FimC-FimH chaperone-adhesin complex from Escherichia coli. Acta Cryst D53:207-210.

Soto GE, Dodson KW, Ogg D, Liu C, Heuser J, Knight S, Kihlberg J, Jones CH & Hultgren SJ (1998): Periplasmic chaperone recognition motif of subunits mediates quaternary interactions in the pilus. EMBO J 17:6155-6167.

Choudhury D, Thompson A, Stojanoff V, Langermann S, Pinkner J, Hultgren SJ & Knight SD (1999): X-ray structure of the FimC-FimH Chaperone-Adhesin Complex from Uropathogenic E. coli. Science 285:1061-1066.

Hultgren SJ, Hung D & Knight S (1999): Periplasmic PapD-Like Chaperones in Bacteria: Structure and Function. In Molecular Biology of Chaperones and Folding Catalysts: Regulation, cellular functions and mechanisms. Bernd Bukau, ed., pp. 661-683, Harwood Academic Publishers, Amtserdam.

Hung DL, Knight SD & Hultgren SJ (1999): Probing conserved surfaces on PapD. Mol Microbiol 31:773-783.

Hung DL, Pinkner JS, Knight SD & Hultgren SJ (1999): Structural basis of chaperone self-capping in P pilus biogenesis. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 96:8178-8183.

Knight SD (2000): RSPS version 4: a semi-interactive vector-search program for solving heavy-atom derivatives. Acta Cryst D56:42-47.

Knight SD, Berglund J & Choudhury D (2000): Bacterial adhesins: structural studies reveal chaperone function and pilus biogenesis. Curr Opin Chem Biol 4(6):653-660.

Sauer FG, Barnhart M, Choudhury D, Knight SD, Waksman G & Hultgren SJ (2000): Chaperone-assisted pilus assembly and bacterial attachment. Curr Opin Struc Biol 10(5):548-556.

Sauer FG, Knight SD, Waksman G & Hultgren SJ (2000): PapD-like chaperones and pilus biogenesis. Sem Cell Dev Biol 11:27-34.

Knight SD, Choudhury D, Hultgren S, Pinkner J, Stojanoff V & Thompson A. (2002). Structure of the S pilus periplasmic chaperone SfaE at 2.2 Å resolution. Acta Cryst D58:1016-1022.

Zavialov AV, Kersley J, Korpela T, Zav'yalov VP, MacIntyre S & Knight S.D. (2002). Donor strand complementation mechanism in the biogenesis of non-pilus systems. Mol Microbiol 45(4):983-995.

Berglund J & Knight, SD (2003): Structural basis of bacterial adhesion in the urinary tract. Adv Exp Med Biol 535:33-52

Kersley JE, Zavialov AV, Moslehi E, Knight SD & MacIntyre S (2003): Mutagenesis elucidates the assembly pathway and structure of Yersinia pestis F1 polymer. Adv Exp Med Biol 529:113-116.

Zavialov AV, Berglund J & Knight SD (2003). Overexpression, purification, crystallization and preliminary X-ray diffraction analysis of the F1 antigen Caf1M-Caf1 chaperone-subunit pre-assembly complex from Yersinia pestis. Acta Cryst D59:359-362.

Zavialov AV, Berglund J, Pudney AF, Fooks LJ, Ibrahim TM, MacIntyre S & Knight SD (2003): Structure and biogenesis of the capsular F1 antigen from Yersinia pestis: Preserved folding energy drives fiber formation. Cell 113:587-596.

MacIntyre S, Knight SD & Fooks LJ (2004): Structure Assembly and Applications of the Polymeric F1 Antigen of Yersinia pestis. In Molecular and Cellular Biology of Pathogenic Yersinia. E Carniel & J Hinnebusch, eds., Chapter 18, pp 1-45, Horizon Press, UK.

Bouckaert JMJ, Berglund J, Schembri M, De Genst E, Cools L, Wuhrer M, Hung C-S, Pinkner J, Slättegård R, Zavialov A, Choudhury D, Langermann S, Hultgren SJ, Wyns L, Klemm P, Oscarson S, Knight SD & De Greve H (2005): FimH receptor binding studies disclose a novel class of high-affinity inhibitors of type 1 fimbrial adherence of Escherichia coli. Mol Microbiol 55:441-455.

Zavialov AV, Tischenko VM, Fooks LJ, Brandsdal BO, Åqvist J, Zav’yalov VP, MacIntyre S & Knight SD (2005): Resolving the energy paradox of chaperone/usher-mediated fibre assembly. Biochem J 389:685-694.

Bouckaert J, Mackenzie J, de Paz JL, Chipwaza B, Choudhury D, Zavialov A, Mannerstedt K, Anderson J, Pierard D, Wyns L, Seeberger PH, Oscarson S, De Greve H & Knight SD (2006): The affinity of the FimH fimbrial adhesin is receptor-driven and quasi-independent of Escherichia coli pathotypes. Mol Microbiol 61:1556-1568.

Zavialov AV & Knight SD (2007): A novel self-capping mechanism controls aggregation of periplasmic chaperone Caf1M. Mol Microbiol 64:153-164.

Knight SD (2007): Structure and Assembly of Yersinia pestis F1 Antigen. In The Genus Yersinia: From Genomics to Function. R. Perry ed. Chapter 6, pp 74-87, Springer-Verlag GMBH, Heidelberg.

Bouckaert J & Knight SD (2008): Structure, Function, and Assembly of Type 1 Pili. In Topics in Current Chemistry: Glycoscience and Microbial Adhesion. T Lindhorst & S Oscarson, eds. Chapter 3, pp 67-107, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

Yu X, Visweswaran GR, Duck Z, Marupakula S, MacIntyre S, Knight SD & Zavialov AV (2009): Caf1A usher possesses a Caf1 subunit-like domain that is crucial for Caf1 fibre secretion. Biochem J 418(3):541-551.

FimC:FimH chaperone:subunit pre-assembly complex

Model of F1 antigen fiber

Zavialov et al 2003, Cell cover

Mol Micro 2007 cover: Caf1M tetramer

  Contact information
Stefan D. Knight
Professor of Biochemistry
Department of Molecular Biology
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Uppsala Biomedical Centre
P.O. Box 590
S-751 24 Uppsala


Molecular Biology
Box 590, SE-751 24 Uppsala (visiting address: Husargatan 3, Biomedical Center entrance C11)
Phone +46 18 4714554 • Fax +46 18 536971
Updated November 18, 2009. Stefan Knight