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J Bacteriol. 2006 Feb;188(4):1497-508.

The bifunctional FtsK protein mediates chromosome partitioning and cell division in Caulobacter.

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  • 1Department of Developmental Biology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Beckman Center, B300, 279 Campus Dr., Stanford, California 94304-5329, USA.


Bacterial chromosome partitioning and cell division are tightly connected cellular processes. We show here that the Caulobacter crescentus FtsK protein localizes to the division plane, where it mediates multiple functions involved in chromosome segregation and cytokinesis. The first 258 amino acids of the N terminus are necessary and sufficient for targeting the protein to the division plane. Furthermore, the FtsK N terminus is required to either assemble or maintain FtsZ rings at the division plane. The FtsK C terminus is essential in Caulobacter and is involved in maintaining accurate chromosome partitioning. In addition, the C-terminal region of FtsK is required for the localization of the topoisomerase IV ParC subunit to the replisome to facilitate chromosomal decatenation prior to cell division. These results suggest that the interdependence between chromosome partitioning and cell division in Caulobacter is mediated, in part, by the FtsK protein.

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