Functional Membrane Microdomains Organize Signaling Networks in Bacteria

Functional Membrane Microdomains Organize Signaling Networks in Bacteria

Membrane organization is usually associated with the correct function of a number of cellular processes in eukaryotic cells as diverse as signal transduction, protein sorting, membrane trafficking, or pathogen invasion. It has been recently discovered that bacterial membranes are able to compartmentalize their signal transduction pathways in functional membrane microdomains (FMMs). In this review article, we discuss the biological significance of the existence of FMMs in bacteria and comment on possible beneficial roles that FMMs play on the harbored signal transduction cascades. Moreover, four different membrane-associated signal transduction cascades whose functions are linked to the integrity of FMMs are introduced, and the specific role that FMMs play in stabilizing and promoting interactions of their signaling components is discussed. Altogether, FMMs seem to play a relevant role in promoting more efficient activation of signal transduction cascades in bacterial cells and show that bacteria are more sophisticated organisms than previously appreciated.

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