Profile Url: jian-liu
Researcher at Department of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, the Second Affiliated Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310009, China. Zhejiang University-University of Edinburgh Institute (ZJU-UoE Institute)
Carboxysomes are protein-based bacterial organelles that encapsulate a key enzyme of the Calvin-Benson-Bassham cycle. Previous work has implicated a ParA-like protein (hereafter McdA) as important for spatially organizing carboxysomes along the longitudinal axis of the model cyanobacterium Synechococcus elongatus PCC 7942. Yet, how self-organization of McdA emerges and contributes to carboxysome positioning is unknown. Here, we show that a small protein, termed McdB, localizes to carboxysomes through interactions with carboxysome shell proteins to drive emergent oscillatory patterning of McdA on the nucleoid. Our results demonstrate that McdB directly interacts to stimulate McdA ATPase activity, and indicate that carboxysome-dependent McdA depletion zone formation on the nucleoid is required for directed motion of carboxysomes towards increased concentrations of McdA. We propose that McdA and McdB are a new class of self-organizing proteins that follow a Brownian-ratchet mechanism, challenging the cytoskeletal model of organelle transport, for equidistant positioning of carboxysomes in cyanobacteria. These results have broader implications for understanding spatial organization of protein mega-complexes and organelles in bacteria more broadly.