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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Carboxysome and Other Bacterial Microcompartments


- Carboxysomes are part of the carbon concentrating mechanism in cyanobacteria and chemoautotrophs. - Carboxysomes are a subclass of bacterial microcompartments (BMCs); BMCs can encapsulate a range of metabolic processes. - Like some viral particles, the carboxysome can be modeled as an icosahedron-in its case, having 4,000-5,000 hexameric shell subunits and 12 surface pentamers to generate curvature. - The threefold axis of symmetry of the CsoS1D protein in carboxysomes forms a pore that can open and close, allowing for selective diffusion. - Genetic modules encoding BMC shell proteins and the enzymes that they encapsulate are horizontally transferable, suggesting they enable bacteria to adapt to diverse environments.

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