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Plant Min protein sits tight and rescues E. coli
Date:5/24/2009

function of MinD is conserved between bacteria and plants," says Yikun He, a member of the research team. "However, this complementation doesn't require the presence of EcMinE suggesting that AtMinD may have some characters different from that of EcMinD."

Exactly why and how the AtMinD localizes to the polar region in E. coli cells is unknown, but one possibility is a mechanism similar to that found in Bacillus subtilis. In this bacterium, MinCD proteins are localized to polar regions without oscillation and there is no MinE. Instead another protein, known as DivIVA, tethers MinCD to cell poles, preventing division at the cell ends.

Chloroplasts originated from cyanobacteria that colonised primitive plant cells, and the conservation of MinD, MinE and FtsZ genes in plants was already an indication of some conservation of function. Nonetheless it is unexpected and exciting to find that plant MinD can collaborate with bacterial MinC to convert E. coli from an oscillating to a Bacillus-type mechanism of Min action, and this finding opens new avenues for exploring Min function in both bacteria and plants.


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