Extreme C terminus of bacterial cytoskeletal protein FtsZ plays fundamental role in assembly independent of modulatory proteins

Paul J. Buske, Petra Anne Levin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations

Abstract

Bacterial cell division typically requires assembly of the cytoskeletal protein FtsZ into a ring (Z-ring) at the nascent division site that serves as a foundation for assembly of the division apparatus. High resolution imaging suggests that the Z-ring consists of short, single-stranded polymers held together by lateral interactions. Several proteins implicated in stabilizing the Z-ring enhance lateral interactions between FtsZ polymers in vitro. Here we report that residues at the C terminus of Bacillus subtilis FtsZ (C-terminal variable region (CTV)) are both necessary and sufficient for stimulating lateral interactions in vitro in the absence of modulatory proteins. Swapping the 6-residue CTV from B. subtilis FtsZ with the 4-residue CTV from Escherichia coli FtsZ completely abolished lateral interactions between chimeric B. subtilis FtsZ polymers. The E. coli FtsZ chimera readily formed higher order structures normally seen only in the presence of molecular crowding agents. CTV-mediated lateral interactions are important for the integrity of the Z-ring because B. subtilis cells expressing the B. subtilis FtsZ chimera had a low frequency of FtsZ ring formation and a high degree of filamentation relative to wild-type cells. Site-directed mutagenesis of the B. subtilis CTV suggests that electrostatic forces are an important determinant of lateral interaction potential.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10945-10957
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Volume287
Issue number14
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 30 2012

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