Researchers are puzzling out a central mechanism for how some proteins navigate inside bacterial cells: Rather than using biochemical cues, they appear to rely on the cells' geometry, sensing the membrane's curvature, two recent studies suggest.
Gram-stained Bacillus subtilis
Image: Wikipedia
"This is an important and fundamental observation," said linkurl:Lucy Shapiro; at Stanford University, who did not participate in the research. Because bacterial cells are so small, researchers for years thought they were essentially bags of enzymes, with no mechanisms for protein localization; proteins could just diffuse wherever they needed to go in milliseconds, she explained. In the last decade, however, that idea has been overturned, with her own lab and others identifying a high level of organization in the bacterial cell. Proteins aggregate at spots where they are needed by a mechanism called diffusion capture -- after being made at the ribosome, a protein travels through the cell by...
ScienceBacillus subtilisScienceE. coliPNASBacillus subtilisBacillusPNASScience

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