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Mol Microbiol. 1999 Apr;32(2):315-26.

FtsZ ring clusters in min and partition mutants: role of both the Min system and the nucleoid in regulating FtsZ ring localization.

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Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, University of Texas Medical School, 6431 Fannin, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


To understand further the role of the nucleoid and the min system in selection of the cell division site, we examined FtsZ localization in Escherichia coli cells lacking MinCDE and in parC mutants defective in chromosome segregation. More than one FtsZ ring was sometimes found in the gaps between nucleoids in min mutant filaments. These multiple FtsZ rings were more apparent in longer cells; double or triple rings were often found in the nucleoid-free gaps in ftsI min and ftsA min double mutant filaments. Introducing a parC mutation into the ftsA min double mutant allowed the nucleoid-free gaps to become significantly longer. These gaps often contained dramatic clusters of FtsZ rings. In contrast, filaments of the ftsA parC double mutant, which contained active MinCDE, assembled only one or two rings in most of the large nucleoid-free gaps. These results suggest that all positions along the cell length are competent for FtsZ ring assembly, not just sites at mid-cell or at the poles. Consistent with previous results, unsegregated nucleoids also correlated with a lack of FtsZ localization. A model is proposed in which both the inhibitory effect of the nucleoid and the regulation by MinCDE ensure that cells divide precisely at the midpoint.

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