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Cellular & Molecular Biology Letters

Open Access

Dynamic instability — A common denominator in prokaryotic and eukaryotic DNA segregation and cell division

Cellular & Molecular Biology LettersAn International Journal201217:26

Received: 16 March 2012

Accepted: 10 August 2012

Published: 15 August 2012


Dynamic instability is an essential phenomenon in eukaryotic nuclear division and prokaryotic plasmid R1 segregation. Although the molecular machines used in both systems differ greatly in composition, strong similarities and requisite nuances in dynamics and segregation mechanisms are observed. This brief examination of the current literature provides a functional comparison between prokaryotic and eukaryotic dynamically unstable filaments, specifically ParM and microtubules. Additionally, this mini-review should support the notion that any dynamically unstable filament could serve as the molecular machine driving DNA segregation, but these machines possess auxiliary features to adapt to temporal and spatial disparities in either system.

Key words

Dynamic instabilityMicrotubulesParM filamentsR1 plasmidMitosisMitotic spindleBrownian ratchetCytoskeleton evolutionCatastrophe/recovery