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Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol. 2014 Sep 2;6(9):a016030. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a016030.

Origin and evolution of the self-organizing cytoskeleton in the network of eukaryotic organelles.

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Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, 72076 Tuebingen, Germany.


The eukaryotic cytoskeleton evolved from prokaryotic cytomotive filaments. Prokaryotic filament systems show bewildering structural and dynamic complexity and, in many aspects, prefigure the self-organizing properties of the eukaryotic cytoskeleton. Here, the dynamic properties of the prokaryotic and eukaryotic cytoskeleton are compared, and how these relate to function and evolution of organellar networks is discussed. The evolution of new aspects of filament dynamics in eukaryotes, including severing and branching, and the advent of molecular motors converted the eukaryotic cytoskeleton into a self-organizing "active gel," the dynamics of which can only be described with computational models. Advances in modeling and comparative genomics hold promise of a better understanding of the evolution of the self-organizing cytoskeleton in early eukaryotes, and its role in the evolution of novel eukaryotic functions, such as amoeboid motility, mitosis, and ciliary swimming.

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