Sunday 3 July 2016

Biophysics of bacterial cell division

Physicists of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich have demonstrated that, at high concentrations, a key protein can assemble into ring-shaped filaments that constrict the cell, giving rise to two daughter cells.

In the final step in bacterial cell division, constriction of the so-called Z-ring, an annular structure that forms on the plasma membrane near the midpoint of the cell, gives rise to the two daughter cells: A research team led by Erwin Frey, who holds the Chair of Statistical and Biological Physics at LMU, has now used mathematical modelling to understand the mechanism that drives formation of the Z-ring, and in so doing have uncovered a novel class of pattern-forming mechanism in biological systems. Simulations based on the model show that the major constituent of the Z-ring can self-organize into ring-like structures once its local subunit concentration exceeds a certain threshold value.

For further details, see:

Jonas Denk, Lorenz Huber, Emanuel Reithmann, Erwin Frey. Active Curved Polymers Form Vortex Patterns on Membranes. Physical Review Letters, 2016; 116 (17) DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.116.178301

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle

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