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Mol Microbiol. 2010 Jul 1;77(1):11-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2958.2010.07225.x. Epub 2010 May 24.

A new factor stimulating peptidoglycan hydrolysis to separate daughter cells in Caulobacter crescentus.

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Department of Fundamental Microbiology, Faculty of Biology and Medicine, University of Lausanne, Quartier UNIL/Sorge, Lausanne, CH 1015, Switzerland.


Cell division in Gram-negative bacteria involves the co-ordinated invagination of the three cell envelope layers to form two new daughter cell poles. This complex process starts with the polymerization of the tubulin-like protein FtsZ into a Z-ring at mid-cell, which drives cytokinesis and recruits numerous other proteins to the division site. These proteins are involved in Z-ring constriction, inner- and outer-membrane invagination, peptidoglycan remodelling and daughter cell separation. Three papers in this issue of Molecular Microbiology, from the teams of Lucy Shapiro, Martin Thanbichler and Christine Jacobs-Wagner, describe a novel protein, called DipM for Division Involved Protein with LysM domains, that is required for cell division in Caulobacter crescentus. DipM localizes to the mid-cell during cell division, where it is necessary for the hydrolysis of the septal peptidoglycan to remodel the cell wall. Loss of DipM results in severe defects in cell envelope constriction, which is deleterious under fast-growth conditions. State-of-the-art microscopy experiments reveal that the peptidoglycan is thicker and that the cell wall is incorrectly organized in DipM-depleted cells compared with wild-type cells, demonstrating that DipM is essential for reorganizing the cell wall at the division site, for envelope invagination and cell separation in Caulobacter.

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