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Mol Microbiol. 2009 Sep;73(6):1009-19. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2958.2009.06841.x. Epub 2009 Aug 24.

Cell division ring, a new cell division protein and vertical inheritance of a bacterial organelle in anammox planctomycetes.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, Institute for Water and Wetland Research, Faculty of Science, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


Anammox bacteria are members of the phylum Planctomycetes that oxidize ammonium anaerobically and produce a significant part of the atmosphere's dinitrogen gas. They contain a unique bacterial organelle, the anammoxosome, which is the locus of anammox catabolism. While studying anammox cell and anammoxosome division with transmission electron microscopy including electron tomography, we observed a cell division ring in the outermost compartment of dividing anammox cells. In most Bacteria, GTP hydrolysis drives the tubulin-analogue FtsZ to assemble into a ring-like structure at the cell division site where it functions as a scaffold for the molecular machinery that performs cell division. However, the genome of the anammox bacterium 'Candidatus Kuenenia stuttgartiensis' does not encode ftsZ. Genomic analysis of open reading frames with potential GTPase activity indicated a possible novel cell division ring gene: kustd1438, which was unrelated to ftsZ. Immunogold localization specifically localized kustd1438 to the cell division ring. Genomic analyses of other members of the phyla Planctomycetes and Chlamydiae revealed no putative functional homologues of kustd1438, suggesting that it is specific to anammox bacteria. Electron tomography also revealed that the bacterial organelle was elongated along with the rest of the cell and divided equally among daughter cells during the cell division process.

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