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Cold Spring Harb Symp Quant Biol. 2009;74:55-64. doi: 10.1101/sqb.2009.74.005. Epub 2009 Aug 17.

Dynamic chromosome organization and protein localization coordinate the regulatory circuitry that drives the bacterial cell cycle.

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Department of Developmental Biology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.


The bacterial cell has less internal structure and genetic complexity than cells of eukaryotic organisms, yet it is a highly organized system that uses both temporal and spatial cues to drive its cell cycle. Key insights into bacterial regulatory programs that orchestrate cell cycle progression have come from studies of Caulobacter crescentus, a bacterium that divides asymmetrically. Three global regulatory proteins cycle out of phase with one another and drive cell cycle progression by directly controlling the expression of 200 cell-cycle-regulated genes. Exploration of this system provided insights into the evolution of regulatory circuits and the plasticity of circuit structure. The temporal expression of the modular subsystems that implement the cell cycle and asymmetric cell division is also coordinated by differential DNA methylation, regulated proteolysis, and phosphorylation signaling cascades. This control system structure has parallels to eukaryotic cell cycle control architecture. Remarkably, the transcriptional circuitry is dependent on three-dimensional dynamic deployment of key regulatory and signaling proteins. In addition, dynamically localized DNA-binding proteins ensure that DNA segregation is coupled to the timing and cellular position of the cytokinetic ring. Comparison to other organisms reveals conservation of cell cycle regulatory logic, even if regulatory proteins, themselves, are not conserved.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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