EzrA prevents aberrant cell division by modulating assembly of the cytoskeletal protein FtsZ

Daniel P. Haeusser, Rachel L. Schwartz, Alison M. Smith, Michelle Erin Oates, Petra Anne Levin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

103 Scopus citations


In response to a cell cycle signal, the cytoskeletal protein FtsZ assembles into a ring structure that establishes the location of the division site and serves as a framework for assembly of the division machinery. A battery of factors control FtsZ assembly to ensure that the ring forms in the correct position and at the precise time. EzrA, a negative regulator of FtsZ ring formation, is important for ensuring that the ring forms only once per cell cycle and that cytokinesis is restricted to mid-cell. EzrA is distributed throughout the plasma membrane and localizes to the ring in an FtsZ-dependent manner, suggesting that it interacts directly with FtsZ to modulate assembly. We have performed a series of experiments examining the interaction between EzrA and FtsZ. As little as twofold overexpression of EzrA blocks FtsZ ring formation in a sensitized genetic background, consistent with its predicted function. A purified EzrA fusion protein interacts directly with FtsZ to block assembly in vitro. Although EzrA is able to inhibit FtsZ assembly, It is unable to disassemble preformed polymers. These data support a model in which EzrA interacts directly with FtsZ at the plasma membrane to prevent polymerization and aberrant FtsZ ring formation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)801-814
Number of pages14
JournalMolecular Microbiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2004


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