Intracellular protein gradients are significant determinants of spatial organization. However, little is known about how protein patterns are established, and how their positional information directs downstream processes. We have accomplished the reconstitution of a protein concentration gradient that directs the assembly of the cell division machinery in E.coli from the bottom-up. Reconstituting self-organized oscillations of MinCDE proteins in membrane-clad soft-polymer compartments, we demonstrate that distinct time-averaged protein concentration gradients are established. Our minimal system allows to study complex organizational principles, such as spatial control of division site placement by intracellular protein gradients, under simplified conditions. In particular, we demonstrate that FtsZ, which marks the cell division site in many bacteria, can be targeted to the middle of a cell-like compartment. Moreover, we show that compartment geometry plays a major role in Min gradient establishment, and provide evidence for a geometry-mediated mechanism to partition Min proteins during bacterial development.
- Mohan Balasubramanian, University of Warwick, United Kingdom
© 2014, Zieske & Schwille
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Epidermal keratinocytes mediate touch sensation by detecting and encoding tactile information to sensory neurons. However, the specific mechanotransducers that enable keratinocytes to respond to mechanical stimulation are unknown. Here, we found that the mechanically-gated ion channel PIEZO1 is a key keratinocyte mechanotransducer. Keratinocyte expression of PIEZO1 is critical for normal sensory afferent firing and behavioral responses to mechanical stimuli in mice.
Mitochondrial electron transport chain (ETC) dysfunction due to mutations in the nuclear or mitochondrial genome is a common cause of metabolic disease in humans and displays striking tissue specificity depending on the affected gene. The mechanisms underlying tissue specific phenotypes are not understood. Complex I (cI) is classically considered the entry point for electrons into the ETC, and in vitro experiments indicate that cI is required for basal respiration and maintenance of the NAD+/NADH ratio, an indicator of cellular redox status. This finding has largely not been tested in vivo. Here, we report that mitochondrial complex I is dispensable for homeostasis of the adult mouse liver; animals with hepatocyte-specific loss of cI function display no overt phenotypes or signs of liver damage, and maintain liver function, redox and oxygen status. Further analysis of cI-deficient livers did not reveal significant proteomic or metabolic changes, indicating little to no compensation is required in the setting of complex I loss. In contrast, complex IV (cIV) dysfunction in adult hepatocytes results in decreased liver function, impaired oxygen handling, steatosis, and liver damage, accompanied by significant metabolomic and proteomic perturbations. Our results support a model whereby complex I loss is tolerated in the mouse liver because hepatocytes use alternative electron donors to fuel the mitochondrial ETC.