Cell shape determining protein MreB (IPR004753)

Short name: MreB

Overlapping homologous superfamilies


Family relationships



MreB proteins are essential for cell-shape maintenance and cell morphogenesis in most non-spherical bacteria [PMID: 22652894, PMID: 17158703]. Most rod-shaped or non-spherical bacteria possess at least one mreB homologue. In Bacillus subtilis, sidewall elongation during vegetative growth is controlled by three MreB isoforms: MreB, Mbl and MreBH [PMID: 19659933]. MreB proteins are found in rod-shaped bacteria, such as E. coli and B. subtilis, that grow by dispersed intercalation of new wall material along the long axis of the cell, as opposed to those that grow from the cell pole [PMID: 12809607].

The crystal structure of MreB from Thermotoga maritima was resolved using X-ray crystallography, and the results suggested that MreB proteins form long filaments that wrap around the long axis of the cell close to the cell membrane, forming helix-like structures. These observations led to the idea that MreB proteins might have an actin-like cytoskeletal role in bacteria [PMID: 11544518, PMID: 11731313]. However, this remains controversial [PMID: 22652894, PMID: 25578957].

MreB and MreB-like proteins are thought to act as scaffolds, guiding the localization and activity of key peptidoglycan synthesizing proteins during cell elongation [PMID: 17880425, PMID: 23826965]. MreB has also been implicated in chromosome segregation [PMID: 15922599].

GO terms

Biological Process

GO:0000902 cell morphogenesis

Molecular Function

No terms assigned in this category.

Cellular Component

No terms assigned in this category.

Contributing signatures

Signatures from InterPro member databases are used to construct an entry.