Functional taxonomy of bacterial hyperstructures

Vic Norris, Tanneke Den Blaauwen, Armelle Cabin-Flaman, Roy H. Doi, Rasika Harshey, Laurent Janniere, Alfonso Jimenez-Sanchez, Jun Jin Ding, Petra Anne Levin, Eugenia Mileykovskaya, Abraham Minsky, Milton Saier, Kirsten Skarstad

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


The levels of organization that exist in bacteria extend from macromolecules to populations. Evidence that there is also a level of organization intermediate between the macromolecule and the bacterial cell is accumulating. This is the level of hyperstructures. Here, we review a variety of spatially extended structures, complexes, and assemblies that might be termed hyperstructures. These include ribosomal or "nucleolar" hyperstructures; transertion hyperstructures; putative phosphotransferase system and glycolytic hyperstructures; chemosignaling and flagellar hyperstructures; DNA repair hyperstructures; cytoskeletal hyperstructures based on EF-Tu, FtsZ, and MreB; and cell cycle hyperstructures responsible for DNA replication, sequestration of newly replicated origins, segregation, compaction, and division. We propose principles for classifying these hyperstructures and finally illustrate how thinking in terms of hyperstructures may lead to a different vision of the bacterial cell.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)230-253
Number of pages24
JournalMicrobiology and Molecular Biology Reviews
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2007


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