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Microbiol Mol Biol Rev. 2006 Sep;70(3):729-54.

The bacterial cytoskeleton.

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Department of Molecular, Microbial and Structural Biology, University of Connecticut Health Center, 263 Farmington Avenue, Farmington, CT 06032, USA.


In recent years it has been shown that bacteria contain a number of cytoskeletal structures. The bacterial cytoplasmic elements include homologs of the three major types of eukaryotic cytoskeletal proteins (actin, tubulin, and intermediate filament proteins) and a fourth group, the MinD-ParA group, that appears to be unique to bacteria. The cytoskeletal structures play important roles in cell division, cell polarity, cell shape regulation, plasmid partition, and other functions. The proteins self-assemble into filamentous structures in vitro and form intracellular ordered structures in vivo. In addition, there are a number of filamentous bacterial elements that may turn out to be cytoskeletal in nature. This review attempts to summarize and integrate the in vivo and in vitro aspects of these systems and to evaluate the probable future directions of this active research field.

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