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J Biol Chem. 2008 Feb 22;283(8):4975-82. Epub 2007 Dec 11.

SpoIIQ anchors membrane proteins on both sides of the sporulation septum in Bacillus subtilis.

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Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


During the process of spore formation in Bacillus subtilis, many membrane proteins localize to the polar septum where they participate in morphogenesis and signal transduction. The forespore membrane protein SpoIIQ plays a central role in anchoring several mother-cell membrane proteins in the septal membrane. Here, we report that SpoIIQ is also responsible for anchoring a membrane protein on the forespore side of the sporulation septum. Co-immunoprecipitation experiments reveal that SpoIIQ resides in a complex with the polytopic membrane protein SpoIIE. During the early stages of sporulation, SpoIIE participates in the switch from medial to polar division and co-localizes with FtsZ at the polar septum. We show that after cytokinesis, SpoIIE is released from the septum and transiently localizes to all membranes in the forespore compartment. Upon the initiation of engulfment, it specifically re-localizes to the septal membrane on the forespore side. Importantly, the re-localization of SpoIIE to the engulfing septum requires SpoIIQ. These results indicate that SpoIIQ is required to anchor membrane proteins on both sides of the division septum. Moreover, our data suggest that forespore membrane proteins can localize to the septal membrane by diffusion-and-capture as has been described for membrane proteins in the mother cell. Finally, our results raise the intriguing possibility that SpoIIE has an uncharacterized function at a late stage of sporulation.

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