[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: All free-living bacteria carry the toxin-antitoxin (TA) systems controlling cell growth and death under stress conditions. YeeU-YeeV (CbtA) is one of the Escherichia coli TA systems, and the toxin, CbtA, has been reported to inhibit the polymerization of bacterial cytoskeletal proteins, MreB and FtsZ. Here, we demonstrate that the antitoxin, YeeU, is a novel type of antitoxin (type IV TA system), which does not form a complex with CbtA but functions as an antagonist for CbtA toxicity. Specifically, YeeU was found to directly interact with MreB and FtsZ, and enhance the bundling of their filamentous polymers in vitro. Surprisingly, YeeU neutralized not only the toxicity of CbtA but also the toxicity caused by other inhibitors of MreB and FtsZ, such as A22, SulA and MinC, indicating that YeeU-induced bundling of MreB and FtsZ has an intrinsic global stabilizing effect on their homeostasis. Here we propose to rename YeeU as CbeA for cytoskeleton bundling-enhancing factor A.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nearly all free-living bacteria carry toxin-antitoxin (TA) systems on their genomes, through which cell growth and death are regulated. Toxins target a variety of essential cellular functions, including DNA replication, translation, and cell division. Here, we identified a novel toxin, YgfX, on the Escherichia coli genome. The toxin, consisting of 135 residues, is composed of the N-terminal membrane domain, which encompasses two transmembrane segments, and the C-terminal cytoplasmic domain. Upon YgfX expression, the cells were initially elongated and then the middle portion of the cells became inflated to form a lemon shape. YgfX was found to interact with MreB and FtsZ, two essential cytoskeletal proteins in E. coli. The cytoplasmic domain [YgfX(C)] was found to be responsible for the YgfX toxicity, as purified YgfX(C) was found to block the polymerization of FtsZ and MreB in vitro. YgfY, located immediately upstream of YgfX, was shown to be the cognate antitoxin; notably, YgfX is the first membrane-associating toxin in bacterial TA systems. We propose to rename the toxin and the antitoxin as CptA and CptB (for Cytoskeleton Polymerization inhibiting Toxin), respectively.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Toxin-antitoxin (TA) systems of free-living bacteria have recently demonstrated that these toxins inhibit cell growth by targeting essential functions of cellular metabolism. Here we show that YeeV toxin inhibits cell division, leads to a change in morphology and lysis of Escherichia coli cells. YeeV interacts with two essential cytoskeleton proteins, FtsZ and MreB. Purified YeeV inhibits both the GTPase activity and the GTP-dependent polymerization of FtsZ. YeeV also inhibits ATP-dependent polymerization of MreB. Truncated C-terminal deletions of YeeV result in elongation of cells, and a deletion of the first 15 amino acids from the N-terminus of YeeV caused lemon-shaped cell formation. The YeeV toxin is distinct from other well-studied toxins: it directs the binding of two cytoskeletal proteins and inhibits FtsZ and MreB simultaneously.