The cytoskeleton has a key function in the temporal and spatial organization of both prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. Here, we report the identification of a new class of polymer-forming proteins, termed bactofilins, that are widely conserved among bacteria. In Caulobacter crescentus, two bactofilin paralogues cooperate to form a sheet-like structure lining the cytoplasmic membrane in proximity of the stalked cell pole. These assemblies mediate polar localization of a peptidoglycan synthase involved in stalk morphogenesis, thus complementing the function of the actin-like cytoskeleton and the cell division machinery in the regulation of cell wall biogenesis. In other bacteria, bactofilins can establish rod-shaped filaments or associate with the cell division apparatus, indicating considerable structural and functional flexibility. Bactofilins polymerize spontaneously in the absence of additional cofactors in vitro, forming stable ribbon- or rod-like filament bundles. Our results suggest that these structures have evolved as an alternative to intermediate filaments, serving as versatile molecular scaffolds in a variety of cellular pathways.