ANDREW D. RUTENBERG ANDREW D. RUTENBERG Dalhousie Physics Dalhousie
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Bacterial Cytoskeleton: MreB



Bacteria have cytoskeletons, and they use them to regulate shape, polarity, and protein transport and localization. MreB is a bacterial actin homologue in E. coli (so are Mbl and MreBH in gram-positive bacteria). It is observed to form helical filaments. We have shown how birectional treadmilling can arise from a polarized bundle of MreB filaments due to the constraint forces imposed by the bacterial shape. This offers a motor-free possibility for targetting proteins to distinct poles, as seen in Caulobacter. MreB is only one of many helically localized proteins within bacteria, and we have also explored mechanisms for the observed helicity. For pubs, see here and here.