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General Protein Diffusion Barriers Create Compartments within Bacterial Cells

Schlimpert, Susan and Klein, Eric A. and Briegel, Ariane and Hughes, Velocity and Kahnt, Jörg and Bolte, Kathrin and Maier, Uwe G. and Brun, Yves V. and Jensen, Grant J. and Gitai, Zemer and Thanbichler, Martin (2012) General Protein Diffusion Barriers Create Compartments within Bacterial Cells. Cell, 151 (6). pp. 1270-1282. ISSN 0092-8674. PMCID PMC3542395. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2012.10.046.

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In eukaryotes, the differentiation of cellular extensions such as cilia or neuronal axons depends on the partitioning of proteins to distinct plasma membrane domains by specialized diffusion barriers. However, examples of this compartmentalization strategy are still missing for prokaryotes, although complex cellular architectures are also widespread among this group of organisms. This study reveals the existence of a protein-mediated membrane diffusion barrier in the stalked bacterium Caulobacter crescentus. We show that the Caulobacter cell envelope is compartmentalized by macromolecular complexes that prevent the exchange of both membrane and soluble proteins between the polar stalk extension and the cell body. The barrier structures span the cross-sectional area of the stalk and comprise at least four proteins that assemble in a cell-cycle-dependent manner. Their presence is critical for cellular fitness because they minimize the effective cell volume, allowing faster adaptation to environmental changes that require de novo synthesis of envelope proteins.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription CentralArticle
Briegel, Ariane0000-0003-3733-3725
Jensen, Grant J.0000-0003-1556-4864
Gitai, Zemer0000-0002-3280-6178
Thanbichler, Martin0000-0002-1303-1442
Additional Information:© 2012 Elsevier Inc. Received: March 19, 2012. Revised: July 24, 2012. Accepted: October 14, 2012. Published online: November 29, 2012. We thank Stephanie Wick for excellent technical assistance; Nikolay Ouzounov for helpful discussions; Juliane Kühn, Patrick Viollier, and Grant Bowman for providing plasmids and strains; and Sarah Cheng for help with image segmentation. This work was supported by funds from the Max Planck Society to M.T., a Young Investigator Grant (RGY0069/2008-C) from the Human Frontier Science Program to Z.G. and M.T., a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director’s New Innovator Award (DP2OD004389) to Z.G., an NRSA postdoctoral fellowship (F32GM906842) from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences to E.A.K., NIH grant GM51986 to Y.V.B, and NIH grant RO1GM094800B to G.J.J.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Max Planck SocietyUNSPECIFIED
Human Frontier Science ProgramRGY0069/2008-C
NIH Postdoctoral FellowshipF32GM906842
Issue or Number:6
PubMed Central ID:PMC3542395
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20130104-105656715
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Susan Schlimpert, Eric A. Klein, Ariane Briegel, Velocity Hughes, Jörg Kahnt, Kathrin Bolte, Uwe G. Maier, Yves V. Brun, Grant J. Jensen, Zemer Gitai, Martin Thanbichler, General Protein Diffusion Barriers Create Compartments within Bacterial Cells, Cell, Volume 151, Issue 6, 7 December 2012, Pages 1270-1282, ISSN 0092-8674, 10.1016/j.cell.2012.10.046. (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:36171
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:04 Jan 2013 19:44
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 23:20

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