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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2012 Jul;1818(7):1590-4.

Indole prevents Escherichia coli cell division by modulating membrane potential.

Author information

1
Department of Genetics, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EH, United Kingdom.

Abstract

Indole is a bacterial signalling molecule that blocks E. coli cell division at concentrations of 3-5 mM. We have shown that indole is a proton ionophore and that this activity is key to the inhibition of division. By reducing the electrochemical potential across the cytoplasmic membrane of E. coli, indole deactivates MinCD oscillation and prevents formation of the FtsZ ring that is a prerequisite for division. This is the first example of a natural ionophore regulating a key biological process. Our findings have implications for our understanding of membrane biology, bacterial cell cycle control and potentially for the design of antibiotics that target the cell membrane.

PMID:
22387460
PMCID:
PMC3793866
DOI:
10.1016/j.bbamem.2012.02.022
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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