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The unique structure of archaeal 'hami', highly complex cell appendages with nano-grappling hooks

Moissl, Christine ; Rachel, Reinhard ; Briegel, Ariane ; Engelhardt, Harald ; Huber, Robert


Proteinaceous, hair-like appendages known as fimbriae or pili commonly extend from the surface of prokaryotic cells and serve important functions such as cell adhesion, biofilm formation, motility and DNA transfer. Here we show that a novel group of archaea from cold, sulphidic springs has developed cell surface appendages of an unexpectedly high complexity with a well-defined base-to-top ...


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