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EMBO J. 2010 Jan 20;29(2):327-39. doi: 10.1038/emboj.2009.358. Epub 2009 Dec 3.

Bactofilins, a ubiquitous class of cytoskeletal proteins mediating polar localization of a cell wall synthase in Caulobacter crescentus.

Author information

1
Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology, Marburg, Germany.

Abstract

The cytoskeleton has a key function in the temporal and spatial organization of both prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. Here, we report the identification of a new class of polymer-forming proteins, termed bactofilins, that are widely conserved among bacteria. In Caulobacter crescentus, two bactofilin paralogues cooperate to form a sheet-like structure lining the cytoplasmic membrane in proximity of the stalked cell pole. These assemblies mediate polar localization of a peptidoglycan synthase involved in stalk morphogenesis, thus complementing the function of the actin-like cytoskeleton and the cell division machinery in the regulation of cell wall biogenesis. In other bacteria, bactofilins can establish rod-shaped filaments or associate with the cell division apparatus, indicating considerable structural and functional flexibility. Bactofilins polymerize spontaneously in the absence of additional cofactors in vitro, forming stable ribbon- or rod-like filament bundles. Our results suggest that these structures have evolved as an alternative to intermediate filaments, serving as versatile molecular scaffolds in a variety of cellular pathways.

PMID:
19959992
PMCID:
PMC2824468
DOI:
10.1038/emboj.2009.358
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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