Bacterial actins? An evolutionary perspective

Russell F. Doolittle, Amanda L. York

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


According to the conventional wisdom, the existence of a cytoskeleton in eukaryotes and its absence in prokaryotes constitute a fundamental divide between the two domains of life. An integral part of the dogma is that a cytoskeleton enabled an early eukaryote to feed upon prokaryotes, a consequence of which was the occasional endosymbiosis and the eventual evolution of organelles. Two recent papers present compelling evidence that actin, one of the principal components of a cytoskeleton, has a homolog in Bacteria that behaves in many ways like eukaryotic actin. Sequence comparisons reveal that eukaryotic actin and the bacterial homolog (mreB protein), unlike many other proteins common to eukaryotes and Bacteria, have very different and more highly extended evolutionary histories.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-296
Number of pages4
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 25 2002
Externally publishedYes


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