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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Mar 4;111(9):3585-90. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1317061111. Epub 2014 Feb 18.

Effects of polymerization and nucleotide identity on the conformational dynamics of the bacterial actin homolog MreB.

Author information

1
Department of Bioengineering and Biophysics Program, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305.

Abstract

The assembly of protein filaments drives many cellular processes, from nucleoid segregation, growth, and division in single cells to muscle contraction in animals. In eukaryotes, shape and motility are regulated through cycles of polymerization and depolymerization of actin cytoskeletal networks. In bacteria, the actin homolog MreB forms filaments that coordinate the cell-wall synthesis machinery to regulate rod-shaped growth and contribute to cellular stiffness through unknown mechanisms. Like actin, MreB is an ATPase and requires ATP to polymerize, and polymerization promotes nucleotide hydrolysis. However, it is unclear whether other similarities exist between MreB and actin because the two proteins share low sequence identity and have distinct cellular roles. Here, we use all-atom molecular dynamics simulations to reveal surprising parallels between MreB and actin structural dynamics. We observe that MreB exhibits actin-like polymerization-dependent structural changes, wherein polymerization induces flattening of MreB subunits, which restructures the nucleotide-binding pocket to favor hydrolysis. MreB filaments exhibited nucleotide-dependent intersubunit bending, with hydrolyzed polymers favoring a straighter conformation. We use steered simulations to demonstrate a coupling between intersubunit bending and the degree of flattening of each subunit, suggesting cooperative bending along a filament. Taken together, our results provide molecular-scale insight into the diversity of structural states of MreB and the relationships among polymerization, hydrolysis, and filament properties, which may be applicable to other members of the broad actin family.

KEYWORDS:

actin superfamily; bacterial cytoskeleton; cell shape control; filament assembly; polymer mechanics

PMID:
24550504
PMCID:
PMC3948266
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.1317061111
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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