Bacteriophage T4 Infection
JCVI-syn3A Minimal Cell
Insulin Release
HIV Vaccine
Caulobacter Polar Microdomain
HIV-Infected Cell
Escherichia coli Bacterium
Cellulose Synthase
Myoglobin in a Whale Muscle Cell
Collagen and Extracellular Matrix
Transfer RNA and Gag Protein
RecA and DNA
Casein Micelle and Fat Globule in Milk
Model of a Mycoplasma Cell
Phage-based COVID-19 Vaccine
Immunological Synapse
Coronavirus Life Cycle
Respiratory Droplet
SARS-CoV-2 and Neutralizing Antibodies
SARS-CoV-2 Fusion
SARS-CoV-2 mRNA Vaccine
Red Blood Cell Cytoskeleton
Measles Virus Proteins
Lipid Droplets
Poliovirus Neutralization
Influenza Vaccine
Excitatory and Inhibitory Synapses
Last Universal Common Ancestor
Zika Virus
Insulin Action
Ebola Virus
Mycoplasma mycoides
Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VegF) Signaling
Biosites: Basement Membrane
Biosites: Red Blood Cell
Biosites: Blood Plasma
Biosites: Cytoplasm
Biosites: Muscle
Biosites: Nucleus
HIV in Blood Plasma
Escherichia coli

Molecular Landscapes by David S. Goodsell

Caulobacter Polar Microdomain, 2022

Acknowledgement: Illustration by David S. Goodsell and Keren Lasker, RCSB Protein Data Bank and Scripps Research. doi: 10.2210/rcsb_pdb/goodsell-gallery-046

The aquatic bacterium Caulobacter crescentus has a two-step life cycle: it is born as a free-swimming “swarmer” and differentiates into an immobile “stalked” cell. As part of this process, it populates the two ends of the cell (poles) with macromolecular complexes that regulate these two different life forms. These specialized polar complexes in turn guide construction of flagellar motors and pili in swarmers and a holdfast structure in stalked forms, and regulate replication and segregation of the DNA chromosome as the cell grows and divides. A distinctive microdomain, formed by the disordered protein PopZ, has the job of marking the poles and gathering these macromolecular complexes (“client” proteins) that have pole-specific functions. PopZ forms a condensate (yellow) that acts as a defined membraneless microdomain, excluding large cytoplasmic molecules like ribosomes from the pole, and selectively recruiting client proteins. In this illustration, the microdomain is interacting with several soluble clients involved in regulation (orange), several membrane-bound clients (yellow-green), and DNA binding proteins (magenta).


Key to the Illustration
PopZ: A, PopZ microfilament; A6, PopZ hexamer; A3, PopZ trimer. Clients: B, CckA; C, PodJ; D, PleC; E, DivL; F, ZitP; G, ChpT; H, CtrA; I, CpdR; J, RdcA; K, DivK; L, PleD; M, ParB; N, MipZ; O, PopA; P, ParA. Proteins related to the microdomain: Q, SMC (Structural Maintenance of Chromosomes); R, ClpXP.

For more information see:
Goodsell, DS Lasker, K (2023) Integrative visualization of the molecular structure of a cellular microdomain Protein Science 32:e4577 doi: 10.1002/pro.4577
Curtis PD, Brun Y (2010) Getting in the loop: regulation of development in Caulobacter crescentus. Microbiol Mol Biol Rev 74(1):13-41.
Lasker K, Mann TH, Shapiro L (2016) An intracellular compass spatially coordinates cell cycle modules in Caulobacter crescentus. Current Opinion in Microbiology 33:131-139.
Govers SK, Jacobs-Wagner C (2020) Caulobacter crescentus: model system extraordinaire. Curr Biol 30(19):R1151-1158.