The discovery of the prokaryotic cytoskeleton: 25th anniversary.
The year 2017 marks the 25th anniversary of the discovery of homologues of tubulin and actin in prokaryotes. Before 1992, it was largely accepted that tubulin and actin were unique to eukaryotes. Then three laboratories independently discovered that FtsZ, a protein already known as a key player in bacterial cytokinesis, had the "tubulin signature sequence" present in all α-, β-, and γ-tubulins. That same year, three candidates for bacterial actins were discovered in silico. X-ray crystal structures have since confirmed multiple bacterial proteins to be homologues of eukaryotic tubulin and actin. Tubulin and actin were apparently derived from bacterial precursors that had already evolved a wide range of cytoskeletal functions.
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