Changes in the oligomerization potential of the division inhibitor UgtP co-ordinate Bacillus subtilis cell size with nutrient availability

An Chun Chien, Shannon Kian Gharabiklou Zareh, Yan Mei Wang, Petra Anne Levin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations

Abstract

How cells co-ordinate size with growth and development is a major, unresolved question in cell biology. In previous work we identified the glucosyltransferase UgtP as a division inhibitor responsible for increasing the size of Bacillus subtilis cells under nutrient-rich conditions. In nutrient-rich medium, UgtP is distributed more or less uniformly throughout the cytoplasm and concentrated at the cell poles and/or the cytokinetic ring. Under these conditions, UgtP interacts directly with FtsZ to inhibit division and increase cell size. Conversely, under nutrient-poor conditions, UgtP is sequestered away from FtsZ in punctate foci, and division proceeds unimpeded resulting in a reduction in average cell size. Here we report that nutrient-dependent changes in UgtP's oligomerization potential serve as a molecular rheostat to precisely co-ordinate B. subtilis cell size with nutrient availability. Our data indicate UgtP interacts with itself and the essential cell division protein FtsZ in a high-affinity manner influenced in part by UDP glucose, an intracellular proxy for nutrient availability. These findings support a model in which UDP-glc-dependent changes in UgtP's oligomerization potential shift the equilibrium between UgtP•UgtP and UgtP•FtsZ, fine-tuning the amount of FtsZ available for assembly into the cytokinetic ring and with it cell size.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)594-610
Number of pages17
JournalMolecular Microbiology
Volume86
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2012

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