Bacterial filament systems: towards understanding their emergent behavior and cellular functions. [Cell Biology]

May 8th, 2015 by Eun, Y.-J., Kapoor, M., Hussain, S., Garner, E. C.

Bacteria use homologs of eukaryotic cytoskeletal filaments to conduct many different tasks, controlling cell shape, division, and DNA segregation. These filaments, combined with factors that regulate their polymerization, create emergent self-organizing machines. Here, we summarize the current understanding of the assembly of these polymers and their spatial regulation by accessory factors, framing them in the context of being dynamical systems. We highlight how comparing the in vivo dynamics of the filaments to those measured in vitro has provided insight into the regulation, emergent behavior, and cellular functions of these polymeric systems.