Recent studies have identified a growing number of mesoscale protein assemblies in both bacterial and eukaryotic cells. Traditionally, these polymeric assemblies are thought to provide structural support for the cell and thus have been classified as the cytoskeleton. However a new class of macromolecular structure is emerging as an organizer of cellular processes that occur on scales hundreds of times larger than a single protein. We propose two types of self-assembling structures, dynamic globules and crystalline scaffolds, and suggest they provide a means to achieve cell-scale order. We discuss general mechanisms for assembly and regulation. Finally, we discuss assemblies that are found to organize metabolism and what possible mechanisms may serve these metabolic enzyme complexes.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Microbiology (medical)
- Infectious Diseases