Bacterial intermediate filaments: in vivo assembly, organization, and dynamics of crescentin

Godefroid Charbon, M. Cabeen, C. Jacobs-Wagner

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    Crescentin, which is the founding member of a rapidly growing family of bacterial cytoskeletal proteins, was previously proposed to resemble eukaryotic intermediate filament (IF) proteins based on structural prediction and in vitro polymerization properties. Here, we demonstrate that crescentin also shares in vivo properties of assembly and dynamics with IF proteins by forming stable filamentous structures that continuously incorporate subunits along their length and that grow in a nonpolar fashion. De novo assembly of crescentin is biphasic and involves a cell size-dependent mechanism that controls the length of the structure by favoring lateral insertion of crescentin subunits over bipolar longitudinal extension when the structure ends reach the cell poles. The crescentin structure is stably anchored to the cell envelope, and this cellular organization requires MreB function, identifying a new function for MreB and providing a parallel to the role of actin in IF assembly and organization in metazoan cells. Additionally, analysis of an MreB localization mutant suggests that cell wall insertion during cell elongation normally occurs along two helices of opposite handedness, each counterbalancing the other's torque
    TidsskriftGenes & Development
    Udgave nummer9
    Sider (fra-til)1131-1144
    StatusUdgivet - 2009

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