[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Together with ATP, the C-terminal region of the essential streptococcal FtsA protein acts as an intramolecular switch to promote its polymerization and attachment to the membrane. During septation, FtsA is known to anchor the constricting FtsZ ring and, subsequently, the divisome to the membrane. Truncation of the C terminus of the streptococcal FtsA (FtsADCt) facilitates a more rapid ATP-dependent polymerization in solution than is seen with the full-length protein (FtsA+). The FtsADCt polymers are more organized and compact than those formed in solution by FtsA+, resembling the shape of the membrane-associated FtsA+ polymers. We find that ATP, besides being needed for polymerization, is required for the attach- ment of FtsA+ to lipid monolayers and to vesicle membranes. We propose a model in which the binding of ATP activates a switch favoring the polymerization of FtsA and at the same time driving the amphipathic helix at its C terminus to become at- tached to the membrane. Conversely, when FtsA is in the cytoplasm, the C terminus is not engaged in the attachment to the membrane, and it obstructs polymerization. ATP-dependent polymerization of FtsA inside membrane vesicles causes vesicle shrinkage, suggesting that, besides providing a membrane attachment for FtsZ, the FtsA C terminus may also introduce local alterations in the membrane to facilitate septation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The morphogene bolA plays a significant role in the adaptation of Escherichia coli to general stresses. In general, bacteria can thrive and persist under harsh conditions, counteracting external stresses by using varied mechanisms, including biofilm formation, changes in cell shape, size and protein content, together with alterations in the cell wall structure, thickness and permeability. In E. coli, an increased expression of bolA occurs mainly under stress challenges and when bacterial morphology changes from rod-like to spherical. Moreover, BolA is able to induce biofilm formation and changes in the outer membrane, making it less permeable to harmful agents. Although there has been substantial progress in the description of BolA activity, its role on global cell physiology is still incomplete. Proteins with strong homology to BolA have been found in most living organisms, in many cases also exerting a regulatory role. In this review we summarize current knowledge on the role of BolA, mainly in E. coli, and discuss its implication in global regulation in relation to stress.
World Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology 07/2014; · 1.35 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We describe the placement of the cytoplasmic FtsZ protein, an essential component of the division septum, in nucleoid-free Escherichia coli maxicells. The absence of the nucleoid is accompanied in maxicells by degradation of the SlmA protein. This protein, together with the nucleoid, prevents the placement of the septum in the regions occupied by the chromosome by a mechanism called nucleoid occlusion (NO). A second septum placement mechanism, the MinCDE system (Min) involving a pole-to-pole oscillation of three proteins, nonetheless remains active in maxicells. Both Min and NO act on the polymerization of FtsZ, preventing its assembly into an FtsZ-ring except at midcell. Our results show that even in the total absence of NO, Min oscillations can direct placement of FtsZ in maxicells. Deletion of the FtsZ carboxyl terminal domain (FtsZ*), a central hub that receives signals from a variety of proteins including MinC, FtsA and ZipA, produces a Min-insensitive form of FtsZ unable to interact with the membrane-anchoring FtsA and ZipA proteins. This protein produces a totally disorganized pattern of FtsZ localization inside the maxicell cytoplasm. In contrast, FtsZ*-VM, an artificially cytoplasmic membrane-anchored variant of FtsZ*, forms helical or repetitive ring structures distributed along the entire length of maxicells even in the absence of NO. These results show that membrane anchoring is needed to organize FtsZ into rings and underscore the role of the C-terminal hub of FtsZ for their correct placement.
PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(3):e91984. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Permeable vesicles containing the proto-ring anchoring ZipA protein, shrink when FtsZ, the main cell division protein, polymerizes in the presence of GTP. Shrinkage, resembling the constriction of the cytoplasmic membrane, occurs at ZipA densities higher than those found in the cell and is modulated by the dynamics of the FtsZ polymer. In vivo, an excess of ZipA generates multilayered membrane inclusions within the cytoplasm and causes the loss of the membrane function as a permeability barrier. Overproduction of ZipA at levels that block septation is accompanied by the displacement of FtsZ and two additional division proteins, FtsA and FtsN, from potential septation sites to clusters that colocalize with ZipA near the membrane. The results show that elementary constriction events mediated by defined elements involved in cell division can be evidenced both in bacteria and in vesicles.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 08/2013; · 4.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Septation in Escherichia coli involves complex molecular mechanisms that contribute to the accuracy of bacterial division. The proto-ring, a complex made up by the FtsZ, FtsA and ZipA proteins, forms at the beginning of the process and directs the assembly of the full divisome. Central to this complex is the FtsZ protein, a GTPase able to assemble into a ring-like structure that responds to several modulatory inputs including mechanisms to position the septum at midcell. The connection with the cell wall synthesising machinery stabilizes the constriction of the cytoplasmic membrane. Although a substantial amount of evidence supports this description, many details on how individual divisome elements are structured or how they function are subjected to controversial interpretations. We discuss these discrepancies arising from incomplete data and from technical difficulties imposed by the small size of bacteria. Future work, including more powerful imaging and reconstruction technologies, will help to clarify the missing details on the architecture and function of the bacterial division machinery.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We used bimolecular fluorescence complementation (BiFC) assays to detect protein-protein interactions of all possible pairs of the essential Escherichia coli proto-ring components, FtsZ, FtsA and ZipA, as well as the non-essential FtsZ-associated proteins ZapA and ZapB. We found an unexpected interaction between ZipA and ZapB at potential cell division sites, and when co-overproduced, they induced long narrow constrictions at division sites that were dependent on FtsZ. These assays also uncovered an interaction between ZipA and ZapA that was mediated by FtsZ. BiFC with ZapA and ZapB showed that in addition to their expected interaction at midcell, they also interact at the cell poles. BiFC detected interaction between FtsZ and ZapB at midcell and close to the poles. Results from the remaining pairwise combinations confirmed known interactions between FtsZ and ZipA, and ZapB with itself.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cell division in Escherichia coli begins by assembling three proteins, FtsZ, FtsA and ZipA to form a proto-ring at midcell. These proteins nucleate an assembly of at least 35 components, the divisome. The structuring of FtsZ to form a ring and the processes that effect constrictions have been explained by alternative but not mutually exclusive mechanisms. We discuss how FtsA and ZipA provide anchoring of the cytoplasmic FtsZ to the membrane and how a temporal sequence of alternative protein interactions may operate in the maturation and stability of the proto-ring. How the force needed for constriction is generated and how the proto-ring proteins relate to peptidoglycan synthesis remain as the main challenges for future research.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 06/2013; · 4.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The full-length ZipA protein from Escherichia coli, one of the essential elements of the cell division machinery, was studied in a surface model built as adsorbed monolayers. The interplay between lateral packing and molecular conformation was probed using a combined methodology based on the scaling analysis of the surface pressure isotherms and ellipsometry measurements of the monolayer thickness. The observed behavior is compatible with the one expected for an intrinsically disordered and highly flexible protein that is preferentially structured in a random coil conformation. At low grafting densities, ZipA coils organize in a mushroom-like regime, whereas a coil-to-brush transition occurs on increasing lateral packing. The structural results suggest a functional scenario in which ZipA acts as a flexible tether anchoring bacterial proto-ring elements to the membrane during the earlier stages of division.-López-Montero, I., López-Navajas, P., Mingorance, J., Rivas, G., Vélez, M., Vicente, M., Monroy, F. Intrinsic disorder of the bacterial cell division protein ZipA: coil-to-brush conformational transition.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Min system of Escherichia coli is involved in mediating placement of the cell division site at the midcell; this is accomplished through partitioning of the cell division inhibitor MinC to the cell poles to block aberrant polar division. The partitioning of MinC is achieved through its interaction with MinDE, which alternates its cellular distribution periodically between opposite cell poles throughout the cell cycle. This dynamic oscillation is the result of intricate molecular interactions occurring between the three Min proteins on the membrane in a spatiotemporal manner. In this minireview, we discuss recent developments in understanding the molecular mechanisms of the E. coli Min system from cellular, biochemical and biophysical perspectives. In addition, we propose a model that involves the balancing of different molecular interactions at different stages of the oscillation cycle.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Everyone working with bacterial genomics is familiar with the phrase ‘too much data’. In this Genome Update, we discuss two methods for helping to deal with this explosion of genomic information. First, we introduce the concept of calculating a quality score for each sequenced genome, and second, we describe a method to quickly sort through genomes for a particular set of protein families. We apply these two methods to all of the current Escherichia coli genomes available in the The National Center for Biotechnology Information database. Out of the 2074 E. coli/Shigella genomes listed (June, 2013), only less than half (983) are of sufficient quality to use in comparative genomic work. Unfortunately, even some of the ‘complete’ E. coli genomes are in pieces, and a few ‘draft’ genomes are good quality. Six of the seven known sigma factors in E. coli strain K‐12 are extremely well conserved; the iron‐regulating sigma factor FecI (σ19) is missing in most genomes. Surprisingly, the E. coli strain CFT073 genome does not encode a functional RpoD (σ70), which is obviously essential, and this is likely due to poor genome assembly/annotation. We find a possible novel sigma factor present in more than a hundred E. coli genomes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In Escherichia coli, the cell division protein FtsZ is anchored to the cytoplasmic membrane by the action of the bitopic membrane protein ZipA and the cytoplasmic protein FtsA. Although the presence of both ZipA and FtsA are strictly indispensable for cell division, an FtsA gain-of-function mutant FtsA* (R286W) can bypass the ZipA requirement for cell division. This observation casts doubts on the role of ZipA and its need for cell division. Maxicells are nucleoid-free bacterial cells used as a whole cell in vitro system to probe protein-protein interactions without the need of protein purification. We show that ZipA protects FtsZ from the ClpXP-directed degradation observed in E. coli maxicells, and that ZipA-stabilized FtsZ forms membrane attached spiral-like structures in the bacterial cytoplasm. The overproduction of the FtsZ-binding ZipA domain (FZB) is sufficient to protect FtsZ from degradation, whereas other carboxyl-terminal ZipA partial deletions lacking it are not. Individual overproduction of the proto-ring component FtsA or its gain-of-function mutant FtsA* do not result in FtsZ protection. Overproduction of FtsA or FtsA* together with ZipA do not interfere with the FtsZ protection. Moreover, neither FtsA nor FtsA* protect FtsZ when overproduced together with ZipA mutants lacking the FZB domain. We propose that ZipA protects FtsZ from degradation by ClpP by making the FtsZ site of interaction unavailable to the ClpX moiety of the ClpXP protease. This role cannot be replaced by either FtsA or FtsA* suggesting a unique function for ZipA in proto-ring stability.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 12/2012; · 4.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: During the division process of Escherichia coli, the globular protein FtsZ is early recruited at the constriction site. The Z-ring, based on FtsZ filaments associated to the inner cell membrane, has been postulated to exert constriction forces. Membrane anchoring is mediated by ZipA, an essential transmembrane protein able to specifically bind FtsZ. In this work, an artificial complex of FtsZ/ZipA has been reconstituted at the inner side of spherical giant unilamellar vesicles made of E. coli lipids. Under these conditions, FtsZ polymerization, triggered when a caged GTP analogue is UV-irradiated, was followed by up to 40% vesicle inflation. The homogeneous membrane dilation was accompanied by the visualization of discrete FtsZ assemblies at the membrane. Complementary rheological data revealed enhanced plasticity under lateral dilation. This explains why vesicles can undergo large dilations in the regime of mechanical stability. A mechanical role for FtsZ polymers as promoters of membrane softening and plasticization is hypothesized.
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 11/2012; · 4.66 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In response to the 2011 European health alert caused by a pathogenic Escherichia coli O104:H4 outbreak, the European Academy of Microbiology (EAM), established by the Federation of European Microbiological Societies (FEMS), convened a meeting in Paris on November 30th, 2011 on 'EHEC infection and control' attended by world renowned experts in pathogenic E. coli. The major aims of this group were to review the scientific issues raised by the outbreak, to assess the handling of the crisis at the scientific and political levels, and to propose future actions. Several conclusions, which will have impact on future potential E. coli outbreaks, are outlined here.
EMBO Molecular Medicine 08/2012; 4(9):841-8. · 7.80 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The full-length ZipA protein from Escherichia coli, one of the essential components of the division proto-ring that provides membrane tethering to the septation FtsZ protein, has been incorporated in single copy into nanodiscs formed by a membrane scaffold protein encircling an E. coli phospholipid mixture. This is an acellular system that reproduces the assembly of part of the cell division components. ZipA contained in nanodiscs (Nd-ZipA) retains the ability to interact with FtsZ oligomers and with FtsZ polymers. Interactions with FtsZ occur at similar strengths as those involved in the binding of the soluble form of ZipA, lacking the transmembrane region, suggesting that the transmembrane region of ZipA has little influence on the formation of the ZipA·FtsZ complex. Peptides containing partial sequences of the C terminus of FtsZ compete with FtsZ polymers for binding to Nd-ZipA. The affinity of Nd-ZipA for the FtsZ polymer formed with GTP or GMPCPP (a slowly hydrolyzable analog of GTP) is moderate (micromolar range) and of similar magnitude as for FtsZ-GDP oligomers. Polymerization does not stabilize the binding of FtsZ to ZipA. This supports the role of ZipA as a passive anchoring device for the proto-ring with little implication, if any, in the regulation of its assembly. Furthermore, it indicates that the tethering of FtsZ to the membrane shows sufficient plasticity to allow for its release from noncentral regions of the cytoplasmic membrane and its subsequent relocation to midcell when demanded by the assembly of a division ring.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 07/2012; 287(36):30097-104. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The proteins belonging to the WhiB superfamily are small global transcriptional regulators typical of actinomycetes. In this paper, we characterize the role of WhiB5, a Mycobacterium tuberculosis protein belonging to this superfamily. A null mutant was constructed in M. tuberculosis H37Rv and was shown to be attenuated during both progressive and chronic mouse infections. Mice infected with the mutant had smaller bacillary burdens in the lungs but a larger inflammatory response, suggesting a role of WhiB5 in immunomodulation. Most interestingly, the whiB5 mutant was not able to resume growth after reactivation from chronic infection, suggesting that WhiB5 controls the expression of genes involved in this process. The mutant was also more sensitive than the wild-type parental strain to S-nitrosoglutathione (GSNO) and was less metabolically active following prolonged starvation, underscoring the importance of GSNO and starvation in development and maintenance of chronic infection. DNA microarray analysis identified 58 genes whose expression is influenced by WhiB5, including sigM, encoding an alternative sigma factor, and genes encoding the constituents of two type VII secretion systems, namely, ESX-2 and ESX-4.
Infection and immunity 06/2012; 80(9):3132-44. · 4.21 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We report observation and analysis of the depolymerization filaments of the bacterial cytoskeletal protein FtsZ (filament temperature-sensitive Z) formed on a mica surface. At low concentration, proteins adsorbed on the surface polymerize forming curved filaments that close into rings that remain stable for some time before opening irreversibly and fully depolymerizing. The distribution of ring lifetimes (T) as a function of length (N), shows that the rate of ring aperture correlates with filament length. If this ring lifetime is expressed as a bond survival time, (T(b) ≡ NT), this correlation is abolished, indicating that these rupture events occur randomly and independently at each monomer interface. After rings open irreversibly, depolymerization of the remaining filaments is fast, but can be slowed down and followed using a nonhydrolyzing GTP analogue. The histogram of depolymerization velocities of individual filaments has an asymmetric distribution that can be fit with a computer model that assumes two rupture rates, a slow one similar to the one observed for ring aperture, affecting monomers in the central part of the filaments, and a faster one affecting monomers closer to the open ends. From the quantitative analysis, we conclude that the depolymerization rate is affected both by nucleotide hydrolysis rate and by its exchange along the filament, that all monomer interfaces are equally competent for hydrolysis, although depolymerization is faster at the open ends than in central filament regions, and that all monomer-monomer interactions, regardless of the nucleotide present, can adopt a curved configuration.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 05/2012; 109(21):8133-8. · 9.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: FtsZ, the prokaryotic ortholog of tubulin, assembles into polymers in the bacterial division ring. The interfaces between monomers contain a GTP molecule, but the relationship between polymerization and GTPase activity is not unequivocally proven. A set of short FtsZ polymers were modelled and the formation of active GTPase structures was monitored using molecular dynamics. Only the interfaces nearest the polymer ends exhibited an adequate geometry for GTP hydrolysis. Simulated conversion of interfaces from close-to-end to internal position and vice versa resulted in their spontaneous rearrangement between active and inactive conformations. This predicted behavior of FtsZ polymer ends was supported by in vitro experiments.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The effect of two different truncations involving either the 1C domain or the simultaneous absence of the S12-13 β-strands of the FtsA protein from Streptococcus pneumoniae, located at opposite terminal sides in the molecular structure, suggests that they are essential for ATP-dependent polymerization. These two truncated proteins are not able to polymerize themselves but can be incorporated to some extent into the FtsA(+) polymers during the assembling process. Consequently, they block the growth of the FtsA(+) polymers and slow down the polymerization rate. The combined action of the two truncated proteins produces an additive effect on the inhibition of FtsA(+) polymerization, indicating that each truncation affects a different interaction site within the FtsA molecule.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 03/2012; 287(10):7756-65. · 4.65 Impact Factor