Although they are present almost everywhere, on land and sea, a group of related bacteria in the superphylum Planctomycetes-Verrucomicrobia-Chlamydiae, or PVC, have remained in relative obscurity ever since they were first described about a decade ago.
Scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany, have discovered that these poorly-studied bacteria possess proteins thought to exist only in eukaryotes – organisms whose cells have a nucleus. Their findings, featured on the cover of today’s edition of PLoS Biology, could help to unravel part of the evolutionary history of eukaryotic cells such as our own.
In eukaryotes, the endomembrane system is a network of membrane-bound compartments which stores and transports material within the cell. These compartments, which include organelles such as the endoplasmic reticulum and the Golgi complex, also exchange portions of membrane with each other, by forming and absorbing vesicles.
Scientists believed that membrane-bound compartments were unique to eukaryotic cells, and that membrane-coat proteins, which have a unique architecture and are associated with the endomembrane system, existed only in eukaryotes. Recently, however, membrane-bound compartments were observed in PVC bacteria.
In the new study, researchers in the group of Iain Mattaj, Director General of EMBL, are the first to provide molecular evidence that the coat proteins that shape the eukaryotic endomembrane system also exist in prokaryotes. Using a combination of bioinformatics, molecular biology and electron microscopy, the EMBL scientists found that proteins with the characteristic membrane-coat architecture also exist in members of the PVC group, but not in any other bacteria, in association with the membranes of subcellular compartments.
“Our findings provide unexpected clues as to how the endomembrane system of eukaryotes evolved,” says Damien Devos, who led the study, “and since they are relatively simple cells, these bacteria could be used as model organisms for studying how this system works.”
Sonia Furtado | EMBL
Closing the carbon loop
08.12.2016 | University of Pittsburgh
Newly discovered bacteria-binding protein in the intestine
08.12.2016 | University of Gothenburg
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
08.12.2016 | Life Sciences
08.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
08.12.2016 | Materials Sciences