The molecular origins of chiral growth in walled cells

Kerwyn Casey Huang, David W. Ehrhardt, Joshua W. Shaevitz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

11 Scopus citations

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)707-714
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent opinion in microbiology
Volume15
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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