[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bacterial cell division involves a contractile ring that organises downstream proteins at the division site and which contains the tubulin homologue FtsZ. ZapC has been discovered as a non-essential regulator of FtsZ. It localises to the septal ring and deletion of zapC leads to a mild phenotype, while overexpression inhibits cell division. Interference with cell division is facilitated by an interaction with FtsZ. Here, we present the 2.9 Å crystal structure of ZapC from E. coli. ZapC forms a dimer and comprises two domains that belong to the Royal superfamily of which many members bind methylated arginines or lysines. ZapC contains an N-terminal chromo-like domain and a Tudor-like C-terminal domain. We show by ITC that ZapC binds the C-terminal tail of FtsZ.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: FtsZ, a GTPase distributed in the cytoplasm of most bacteria, is the major component of the machinery responsible for division
(the divisome) in Escherichia coli. It interacts with additional proteins that contribute to its function forming a ring at the midcell that is essential to
constrict the membrane. FtsZ is indirectly anchored to the membrane and it is prevented from polymerizing at locations where
septation is undesired. Several properties of FtsZ are mediated by other proteins that function as keepers of the ring. ZipA
and FtsA serve to anchor the ring, and together with a set of Zap proteins, they stabilize it. The MinCDE and SlmA proteins
prevent the polymerization of FtsZ at sites other than the midcell. Finally, ClpP degrades FtsZ, an action prevented by ZipA.
Many of the FtsZ keepers interact with FtsZ through a central hub located at its carboxy terminal end.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The rod-shaped Gram-negative bacterium Escherichia coli multiplies by elongation followed by binary fission. Longitudinal growth of the cell envelope and synthesis of the new poles are organized by two protein complexes called elongasome and divisome, respectively. We have analyzed the spatio-temporal localization patterns of many of these morphogenetic proteins by immunolabeling the wild type strain MC4100 grown to steady state in minimal glucose medium at 28°C. This allowed the direct comparison of morphogenetic protein localization patterns as a function of cell age as imaged by phase contrast and fluorescence wide field microscopy. Under steady state conditions the age distribution of the cells is constant and is directly correlated to cell length. To quantify cell size and protein localization parameters in 1000s of labeled cells, we developed 'Coli-Inspector,' which is a project running under ImageJ with the plugin 'ObjectJ.' ObjectJ organizes image-analysis tasks using an integrated approach with the flexibility to produce different output formats from existing markers such as intensity data and geometrical parameters. ObjectJ supports the combination of automatic and interactive methods giving the user complete control over the method of image analysis and data collection, with visual inspection tools for quick elimination of artifacts. Coli-inspector was used to sort the cells according to division cycle cell age and to analyze the spatio-temporal localization pattern of each protein. A unique dataset has been created on the concentration and position of the proteins during the cell cycle. We show for the first time that a subset of morphogenetic proteins have a constant cellular concentration during the cell division cycle whereas another set exhibits a cell division cycle dependent concentration variation. Using the number of proteins present at midcell, the stoichiometry of the divisome is discussed.
No preview · Article · Jun 2015 · Frontiers in Microbiology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Division site selection is achieved in bacteria by different mechanisms, one of them being nucleoid occlusion, which prevents Z-ring assembly nearby the chromosome. Nucleoid occlusion in E. coli is mediated by SlmA, a sequence specific DNA binding protein that antagonizes FtsZ assembly. Here we show that, when bound to its specific target DNA sequences (SBS), SlmA reduces the lifetime of the FtsZ protofilaments in solution and of the FtsZ bundles when located inside permeable giant vesicles. This effect appears to be essentially uncoupled from the GTPase activity of the FtsZ protofilaments, which is insensitive to the presence of SlmA·SBS. The interaction of SlmA·SBS with either FtsZ protofilaments containing GTP or FtsZ oligomers containing GDP results in the disassembly of FtsZ polymers. We propose that SlmA·SBS complexes control the polymerization state of FtsZ by accelerating the disassembly of the FtsZ polymers leading to their fragmentation into shorter species that are still able to hydrolyze GTP at the same rate. SlmA defines therefore a new class of inhibitors of the FtsZ ring different from the SOS response regulator SulA and from the moonlighting enzyme OpgH, inhibitors of the GTPase activity. SlmA also shows differences compared with MinC, the inhibitor of the division site selection Min system, which shortens FtsZ protofilaments by interacting with the GDP form of FtsZ.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mycobacteria lack several of the components that are essential in model systems as Escherichia coli or Bacillus subtilis for the formation of the divisome, a ring-like structure assembling at the division site to initiate bacterial cytokinesis. Divisome assembly depends on the correct placement of the FtsZ protein into a structure called the Z ring. Notably, early division proteins that assist in the localisation of the Z ring to the cytoplasmic membrane and modulate its structure are missing in the so far known mycobacterial cell division machinery. To find mycobacterium-relevant components of the divisome that might act at the level of FtsZ, a yeast two-hybrid screening was performed with FtsZ from Mycobacterium tuberculosis. We identified the SepF homolog as a new interaction partner of mycobacterial FtsZ. Depending on the presence of FtsZ, SepF-GFP fusions localised in ring-like structures at potential division sites. Alteration of SepF levels in Mycobacterium smegmatis led to filamentous cells, indicating a division defect. Depletion of SepF resulted in a complete block of division. The sepF gene is highly conserved in the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex members. We therefore propose that SepF is an essential part of the core division machinery in the genus Mycobacterium.
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No preview · Article · May 2015 · Molecular Microbiology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Unlabelled:
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 (FtsAΔCt) facilitates a more rapid ATP-dependent polymerization in solution than is seen with the full-length protein (FtsA(+)). The FtsAΔCt 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 attachment 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 attached 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.
FtsA is a protein needed in many bacteria to construct a septum that divides one fully grown cell, producing two daughters. We show that the region located at the C-terminal end of the Streptococcus pneumoniae FtsA protein works as a switch triggered by ATP, a molecule that stores energy. This region contains an amphipathic helix that obstructs the assembly of FtsA into polymers in the cytoplasm. In the presence of ATP, the obstruction is removed by switching the position of the helix. The switch directs the helix to the membrane and simultaneously facilitates the polymerization of the protein. The accumulation of FtsA molecules at the membrane causes distortions, an effect produced also by proteins such as MinD, MreB, and SepF that also contain amphipathic helixes as membrane attachment devices. In the case of FtsA, these distortions may also facilitate the initial events that lead to the division of bacteria.
[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.
No preview · Article · Jul 2014 · World Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology
[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.
[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.
Full-text · Article · Aug 2013 · Journal of Biological Chemistry
[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.
No preview · Article · Aug 2013 · Environmental Microbiology
[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.
Full-text · Article · Aug 2013 · Environmental Microbiology
[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 constriction
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.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2013 · Journal of Biological Chemistry
[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.
Full-text · Article · May 2013 · The FASEB Journal
[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.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2012 · Journal of Biological Chemistry
[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.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2012 · Biochimica et Biophysica Acta
[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.
Full-text · Article · Sep 2012 · EMBO Molecular Medicine
[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.