Supramolecular cellular filament systems: How and why do they form?

David Popp, Robert C. Robinson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

All cells, from simple bacteria to complex human tissues, rely on extensive networks of protein fibers to help maintain their proper form and function. These filament systems usually do not operate as single filaments, but form complex suprastructures, which are essential for specific cellular functions. Here, we describe the progress in determining the architectures of molecular filamentous suprastructures, the principles leading to their formation, and the mechanisms by which they may facilitate function. The complex eukaryotic cytoskeleton is tightly regulated by a large number of actin- or microtubule-associated proteins. In contrast, recently discovered bacterial actins and tubulins have few associated regulatory proteins. Hence, the quest to find basic principles that govern the formation of filamentous suprastructures is simplified in bacteria. Three common principles, which have been probed extensively during evolution, can be identified that lead to suprastructures formation: cationic counterion fluctuations; self-association into liquid crystals; and molecular crowding. The underlying physics of these processes will be discussed with respect to physiological circumstance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-87
Number of pages17
JournalCytoskeleton
Volume69
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2012
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Actins
Bacteria
Liquid Crystals
Crowding
Microtubule-Associated Proteins
Physics
Tubulin
Cytoskeleton
Proteins

Keywords

  • Cation counterion fluctuations
  • Cellular filament systems
  • Liquid crystals
  • Molecular crowding
  • Supramolecular structures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Cell Biology

Cite this

Supramolecular cellular filament systems : How and why do they form? / Popp, David; Robinson, Robert C.

In: Cytoskeleton, Vol. 69, No. 2, 01.02.2012, p. 71-87.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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