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Trends Microbiol. 2009 Nov;17(11):507-13. doi: 10.1016/j.tim.2009.08.003. Epub 2009 Sep 23.

Ancient ESCRTs and the evolution of binary fission.

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Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3RE, UK.


Eukaryotic and prokaryotic orthologs of tubulin play key roles in DNA segregation and cell division processes. Remarkably, recent studies have revealed that cell division can occur in the absence of this highly conserved protein. Members of the hyperthermophilic crenarchaea, that lack tubulin-like proteins, undergo division by binary fission. Here we review how this process is dependent on archaeal homologs of the eukaryotic 'endosomal sorting complex required for transport' (ESCRT) system - an apparatus that plays a pivotal role in a wide range of membrane manipulation processes. Thus, two distinct machineries to drive binary fission have evolved in prokaryotes - one dependent on tubulin-like proteins and one dependent on the ESCRT system.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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