Nuclear pore-like structures in a compartmentalized bacterium

Evgeny Sagulenko, Amanda Nouwens, Richard I. Webb, Kathryn Green, Benjamin Yee, Garry Morgan, Andrew Leis, Kuo Chang Lee, Margaret K. Butler, Nicholas Chia, Uyen Thi Phuong Pham, Stinus Lindgreen, Ryan Catchpole, Anthony M. Poole, John A. Fuerst

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21 Scopus citations


Planctomycetes are distinguished from other Bacteria by compartmentalization of cells via internal membranes, interpretation of which has been subject to recent debate regarding potential relations to Gram-negative cell structure. In our interpretation of the available data, the planctomycete Gemmata obscuriglobus contains a nuclear body compartment, and thus possesses a type of cell organization with parallels to the eukaryote nucleus. Here we show that pore-like structures occur in internal membranes of G.obscuriglobus and that they have elements structurally similar to eukaryote nuclear pores, including a basket, ringspoke structure, and eight-fold rotational symmetry. Bioinformatic analysis of proteomic data reveals that some of the G. obscuriglobus proteins associated with pore-containing membranes possess structural domains found in eukaryote nuclear pore complexes. Moreover, immunogold labelling demonstrates localization of one such protein, containing a β-propeller domain, specifically to the G. obscuriglobus pore-like structures. Finding bacterial pores within internal cell membranes and with structural similarities to eukaryote nuclear pore complexes raises the dual possibilities of either hitherto undetected homology or stunning evolutionary convergence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0169432
JournalPloS one
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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