Article evaluation: Synthetic cell biology

I have evaluated the following article for F1000 Prime.

This article was published last year but has recently come to my attention again.

Lo Presti L, Martin SG. (2011) Shaping fission yeast cells by rerouting actin-based transport on microtubules. Curr Biol  Dec 20; 21(24):2064-9 PMID: 22137473 DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.

This is an elegant study that identifies remarkable plasticity in the cytoskeletal networks of fission yeast. S. pombe normally requires both actin filaments and microtubules for polarized growth. A key role of the actin network is the polarized delivery of the Rab11 orthologue Ypt3p. The authors generated a synthetic motor to re-route myosin V cargo (Ypt3p) to microtubules and showed that this chimera could restore polarized growth to cells lacking myosin V.

This paper showcases the utility of synthetic cell biology to further our understanding of fundamental cell biological processes. For those short of time, I also recommend the accompanying video abstract.