Carboxysomes: How bacteria arrange their organelles

The structures responsible for photosynthesis in bacteria use the nucleoid and two unique proteins as a scaffold to position themselves.
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The proteins McdA and McdB interact to position carboxysomes in bacterial cells.

Left: Synechococcus elongatus cells bearing one or multiple carboxysomes (green pentagons). McdB proteins on the surface of the carboxysomes create a gradient of McdA (pink) that oscillates across the surface of the nucleoid. Carboxysomes move to the highest concentration of McdA, but McdB causes McdA to dissociate more easily from the nucleoid surface. In cells containing one carboxysome (top), the carboxysome sits at the McdA-depleted region of the nucleoid. In cells containing two or more carboxysomes, the carboxysomes move apart from each other until they end up equally spaced across the nucleoid. Right: Schematic diagram of a carboxysome (adapted from; CC BY 3.0). Carboxysomes contain the key enzymes for photosynthesis – RuBisCO and carbonic anhydrase. McdB proteins (light green diamonds) on the surface of carboxysomes allow the carboxysomes to interact with McdA on the surface of nucleoids.

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  1. Emilia Mauriello
Carboxysomes: How bacteria arrange their organelles
eLife 8:e43777.