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Curr Opin Microbiol. 2012 Dec;15(6):707-14. doi: 10.1016/j.mib.2012.11.002. Epub 2012 Nov 26.

The molecular origins of chiral growth in walled cells.

Author information

1
Department of Bioengineering, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA. kchuang@stanford.edu

Abstract

Cells from all kingdoms of life adopt a dizzying array of fascinating shapes that support cellular function. Amoeboid and spherical shapes represent perhaps the simplest of geometries that may minimize the level of growth control required for survival. Slightly more complex are rod-shaped cells, from microscopic bacteria to macroscopic plants, which require additional mechanisms to define a cell's longitudinal axis, width, and length. Recent evidence suggests that many rod-shaped, walled cells achieve elongated growth through chiral insertion of cell-wall material that may be coupled to a twisting of the cell body. Inspired by these observations, biophysical mechanisms for twisting growth have been proposed that link the mechanics of intracellular proteins to cell shape maintenance. In this review, we highlight experimental and theoretical work that connects molecular-scale organization and structure with the cellular-scale phenomena of rod-shaped growth.

PMID:
23194654
PMCID:
PMC3971482
DOI:
10.1016/j.mib.2012.11.002
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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