During the past decade, the appreciation and understanding of how bacterial cells can be organized in both space and time have been revolutionized by the identification and characterization of multiple bacterial homologs of the eukaryotic actin cytoskeleton. Some of these bacterial actins, such as the plasmid-borne ParM protein, have highly specialized functions, whereas other bacterial actins, such as the chromosomally encoded MreB protein, have been implicated in a wide array of cellular activities. In this review we cover our current understanding of the structure, assembly, function, and regulation of bacterial actins. We focus on ParM as a well-understood reductionist model and on MreB as a central organizer of multiple aspects of bacterial cell biology. We also discuss the outstanding puzzles in the field and possible directions where this fast-developing area may progress in the future.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)