Bacterial cytoskeleton structure and function: Visualisation by electron microscopy

Bacterial cytoskeletal elements are involved in cell morphogenesis, cellular organization, genome organization and division, growth and polarity control. The different cytoskeletal elements are more or less conserved compared to the cytoskeletons of archea and eukaryotic organisms. Bacterial cytoskeletal structures and functions in different species are generally unexplored and may contain evolutionarily information, despite weak sequence homology. We use electron microscopy, tomography, molecular and structural biology to understand their spatial organization, cell and membrane interactions and assembly processes, in vitro as well as in vivo.

In an initial project, we are focusing on the intermediate filament like protein FilP in Streptomyces colicolor. This protein has striking structural similarities to higher eukaryotic lamins and forms repetitive filaments, networks or paracrystaline structures in vitro. Interestingly, this protein confers membrane rigidity and promotes polar growth at the tips of growing hyphae of these bacteria. We are exploring these structures and the filament assembly process further both in vitroand in vivo by cryo electron tomography.

Phone: +46 90 7850818

Director of Umeå Core Facility for Electron Microscopy (UCEM)

Group members
Ala Javadi, PhD Student,
Åsa Nylander, project assistant,
Annelie Olofsson, Postdoc,
Nicole Selzer-Backus, Postdoc,
Niklas Söderholm, Postdoc,