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The physical nature of the bacterial cytoplasm is poorly understood even though it determines cytoplasmic dynamics and hence cellular physiology and behavior. Through single-particle tracking of protein filaments, plasmids, storage granules, and foreign particles of different sizes, we find that the bacterial cytoplasm displays properties that are(More)
The cytoskeleton is a key regulator of cell morphogenesis. Crescentin, a bacterial intermediate filament-like protein, is required for the curved shape of Caulobacter crescentus and localizes to the inner cell curvature. Here, we show that crescentin forms a single filamentous structure that collapses into a helix when detached from the cell membrane,(More)
Bacteria, like eukaryotes, employ cytoskeletal elements to perform many functions, including cell morphogenesis, cell division, DNA partitioning, and cell motility. They not only possess counterparts of eukaryotic actin, tubulin, and intermediate filament proteins, but they also have cytoskeletal elements of their own. Unlike the rigid sequence and(More)
Crescentin, which is the founding member of a rapidly growing family of bacterial cytoskeletal proteins, was previously proposed to resemble eukaryotic intermediate filament (IF) proteins based on structural prediction and in vitro polymerization properties. Here, we demonstrate that crescentin also shares in vivo properties of assembly and dynamics with IF(More)
Bacterial species have long been classified on the basis of their characteristic cell shapes. Despite intensive research, the molecular mechanisms underlying the generation and maintenance of bacterial cell shape remain largely unresolved. The field has recently taken an important step forward with the discovery that eukaryotic cytoskeletal proteins have(More)
The bacterial world is full of varying cell shapes and sizes, and individual species perpetuate a defined morphology generation after generation. We review recent findings and ideas about how bacteria use the cytoskeleton and other strategies to regulate cell growth in time and space to produce different shapes and sizes.
The propagation of cell shape across generations is remarkably robust in most bacteria. Even when deformations are acquired, growing cells progressively recover their original shape once the deforming factors are eliminated. For instance, straight-rod-shaped bacteria grow curved when confined to circular microchambers, but straighten in a growth-dependent(More)
We develop an optical imaging technique for spatially and temporally tracking biofilm growth and the distribution of the main phenotypes of a Bacillus subtilis strain with a triple-fluorescent reporter for motility, matrix production, and sporulation. We develop a calibration procedure for determining the biofilm thickness from the transmission images,(More)