Overview of cell shape: cytoskeletons shape bacterial cells

Curr Opin Microbiol. 2007 Dec;10(6):601-5. doi: 10.1016/j.mib.2007.09.005. Epub 2007 Nov 5.


An evolving hypothesis is that bacterial cell shape is determined by cytoskeletal elements that localize peptidoglycan synthetic machineries. In most bacteria FtsZ assembles into the Z ring which recruits the machinery necessary for cytokinesis. Most rod shaped cells require MreB which assembles into cables that run between the poles of the cell and distribute various components of peptidoglycan metabolism along the cell length. Cells with other shapes have additional cytoskeletal elements that either localize synthetic machineries or possibly influence their activity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / cytology
  • Bacteria / growth & development*
  • Bacteria / metabolism
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / genetics
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / metabolism*
  • Escherichia coli Proteins / genetics
  • Escherichia coli Proteins / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial*
  • Morphogenesis / physiology*


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • Escherichia coli Proteins
  • FtsZ protein, Bacteria
  • MreB protein, E coli