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Trends Microbiol. 2004 Nov;12(11):518-25.

Recent advances on the development of bacterial poles.

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Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School, 65 Landsdowne St., Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.


In rod-shaped bacteria, a surprisingly large number of proteins are localized to the cell poles. Polar positioning of proteins is crucial to many fundamental cellular processes. Formation of the pole occurs at the time of a prior cell division event and involves coordination of the cell division machinery with septal placement of newly-synthesized peptidoglycan. Development of polar peptidoglycan and outer membrane depends on the formation of the cytokinetic FtsZ ring at midcell. By contrast, positioning of at least two polar proteins depends on signals independent of both the assembly of the FtsZ ring and the synthesis of septal and polar peptidoglycan. We propose a model for distinct but interrelated developmental pathways for polar cell envelope synthesis and positional information recognized by polar proteins.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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