Asymmetric cell division generates specialized daughter cells that play a variety of roles including tissue morphogenesis in eukaryotes and pathogenesis in bacteria. In the gram-negative bacterium Caulobacter crescentus, asymmetric localization of two biochemically distinct signaling hubs at opposite cell poles provides the foundation for asymmetric cell division. Through a set of genetic, synthetic biology and biochemical approaches we have characterized the regulatory interactions between three scaffolding proteins. These studies have revealed that the scaffold protein PodJ functions as a central mediator for organizing the new cell signaling hub, including promoting bipolarization of the central developmental scaffold protein PopZ. In addition, we identified that the old pole scaffold SpmX serves as a negative regulator of PodJ subcellular accumulation. These two scaffold-scaffold regulatory interactions serve as the core of an integrated cell polarization circuit that is layered on top of the cell-cycle circuitry to coordinate cell differentiation and asymmetric cell division.
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