Frontiers in Bioscience-Scholar (FBS) is published by IMR Press from Volume 13 Issue 1 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on imrpress.com as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.
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Academic Editor: Norio Kagawa
A decade ago, two breakthrough descriptions were reported: 1) the first helix-like protein localization pattern of MreB and its paralog Mbl in Bacillus subtilis and 2) the crystal structure of Thermotoga maritima MreB1, which was remarkably similar to that of actin. These discoveries strongly stimulated the field of bacterial development, leading to the identification of many new cytoskeletal proteins (1) and the publication of many studies describing the helical patterns of protein, DNA and even lipid domains. However, today, new breakthroughs are shaking up what had become a dogma. Instead of helical structures, MreBs appear to form discrete patches that move circumferentially around the cell, questioning the idea of MreB cables forming an actin-like cytoskeleton. Furthermore, increasing evidence of biochemical properties that are unlike the properties of actin suggest that the molecular behavior of MreB proteins may be different. The aim of this review is to summarize the current knowledge of the so-called "actin-like" MreB cytoskeleton through a discussion of the model Gram-positive bacterium B. subtilis and the most recent findings in this rapidly evolving research field.