Every living thing has a body plan in which distinct anatomical parts are used for different purposes. This is true down to the fundamental unit of life - the cellular level. Even bacteria, the simplest and earliest known forms of cellular life, have defined body plans.

Amazingly, bacteria can generate complex body plans within a single contiguous cytoplasm, without using internal membranes to provide compartmentalization or directed vesicular transport as eukaryotic cells do. Instead, bacteria can become organized through the assembly of complex macromolecular structures, which act as microdomains for the purpose of carrying out specialized functions.

We seek to understand the organizational principles of a microdomains in the bacterium
Caulobacter crescentus, which houses the control mechanisms for the establishment of cell polarity and the timing of chromosome replication in large macromolecular complexes at the cell poles. Using powerful genetic, biochemical, and visual tools afforded by bacterial systems, my laboratory will gain an atomic scale understanding of these microenvironments, and understand how their structure relates to biochemical mechanism. How is this dynamic arrangement of scaffolding proteins, signaling factors, and other molecules combined to form a functional macromolecular complex?
Macromolecular Structures At Cell Poles
Luis Comolli, LBNL