Spatially Ordered Dynamics of the Bacterial Carbon Fixation Machinery

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Science  05 Mar 2010:
Vol. 327, Issue 5970, pp. 1258-1261
DOI: 10.1126/science.1186090

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Cyanobacterial carbon fixation is a major component of the global carbon cycle. This process requires the carboxysome, an organelle-like proteinaceous microcompartment that sequesters the enzymes of carbon fixation from the cytoplasm. Here, fluorescently tagged carboxysomes were found to be spatially ordered in a linear fashion. As a consequence, cells undergoing division evenly segregated carboxysomes in a nonrandom process. Mutation of the cytoskeletal protein ParA specifically disrupted carboxysome order, promoted random carboxysome segregation during cell division, and impaired carbon fixation after disparate partitioning. Thus, cyanobacteria use the cytoskeleton to control the spatial arrangement of carboxysomes and to optimize the metabolic process of carbon fixation.

  • * These authors contributed equally to this work.

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