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PMC Biophys. 2009 Oct 22;2(1):8. doi: 10.1186/1757-5036-2-8.

Simple modeling of FtsZ polymers on flat and curved surfaces: correlation with experimental in vitro observations.

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Instituto de Catálisis y Petroleoquímica, CSIC C/Marie Curie, 2, Cantoblanco, Madrid, E-28049, Spain.


FtsZ is a GTPase that assembles at midcell into a dynamic ring that constricts the membrane to induce cell division in the majority of bacteria, in many archea and several organelles. In vitro, FtsZ polymerizes in a GTP-dependent manner forming a variety of filamentous flexible structures. Based on data derived from the measurement of the in vitro polymerization of Escherichia coli FtsZ cell division protein we have formulated a model in which the fine balance between curvature, flexibility and lateral interactions accounts for structural and dynamic properties of the FtsZ polymers observed with AFM. The experimental results have been used by the model to calibrate the interaction energies and the values obtained indicate that the filaments are very plastic. The extension of the model to explore filament behavior on a cylindrical surface has shown that the FtsZ condensates promoted by lateral interactions can easily form ring structures through minor modulations of either filament curvature or longitudinal bond energies. The condensation of short, monomer exchanging filaments into rings is shown to produce enough force to induce membrane deformations.PACS codes: 87.15.ak, 87.16.ka, 87.17.Ee.

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