Protein-protein interaction network controlling establishment and maintenance of switchable cell polarity

Autoři: Luís António Menezes Carreira aff001;  Filipe Tostevin aff001;  Ulrich Gerland aff002;  Lotte Søgaard-Andersen aff001
Působiště autorů: Department of Ecophysiology, Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology, Marburg, Germany aff001;  Physik-Department, Technische Universität München, James Franck Straße, Garching, Germany aff002
Vyšlo v časopise: Protein-protein interaction network controlling establishment and maintenance of switchable cell polarity. PLoS Genet 16(6): e32767. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1008877
Kategorie: Research Article


Cell polarity underlies key processes in all cells, including growth, differentiation and division. In the bacterium Myxococcus xanthus, front-rear polarity is crucial for motility. Notably, this polarity can be inverted, independent of the cell-cycle, by chemotactic signaling. However, a precise understanding of the protein network that establishes polarity and allows for its inversion has remained elusive. Here, we use a combination of quantitative experiments and data-driven theory to unravel the complex interplay between the three key components of the M. xanthus polarity module. By studying each of these components in isolation and their effects as we systematically reconstruct the system, we deduce the network of effective interactions between the polarity proteins. RomR lies at the root of this network, promoting polar localization of the other components, while polarity arises from interconnected negative and positive feedbacks mediated by the small GTPase MglA and its cognate GAP MglB, respectively. We rationalize this network topology as operating as a spatial toggle switch, providing stable polarity for persistent cell movement whilst remaining responsive to chemotactic signaling and thus capable of polarity inversions. Our results have implications not only for the understanding of polarity and motility in M. xanthus but also, more broadly, for dynamic cell polarity.

Klíčová slova:

Cell cycle and cell division – Cell polarity – Fluorescence imaging – Fluorescence microscopy – Guanine nucleotide exchange factors – Guanosine triphosphatase – Mathematical models – Protein interaction networks


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