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J Biol Chem. 2013 Aug 16;288(33):23675-9. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M113.491845. Epub 2013 Jul 3.

Rapid in vitro assembly of Caulobacter crescentus FtsZ protein at pH 6.5 and 7.2.

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Department of Cell Biology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27701-3709, USA.


FtsZ from most bacteria assembles rapidly in vitro, reaching a steady-state plateau in 5-10 s after addition of GTP. A recent study used a novel dynamic light-scattering technique to assay the assembly of FtsZ from Caulobacter crescentus (CcFtsZ) and reported that assembly required 10 min, ∼100 times slower than for related bacteria. Previous studies had indicated normal, rapid assembly of CcFtsZ. We have reinvestigated the assembly kinetics using a mutant L72W, where assembly of subunits into protofilaments results in a significant increase in tryptophan fluorescence. We found that assembly reached a plateau in 5-10 s and showed no change in the following 10 min. This was confirmed by 90° light scattering and negative-stain electron microscopy. The very slow kinetics in the dynamic light-scattering study may be related to a refractory state induced when the FtsZ protein is stored without nucleotide, a phenomenon that we had observed in a previous study of EcFtsZ. We conclude that CcFtsZ is not an outlier, but shows rapid assembly kinetics similar to FtsZ from related bacteria.


Bacteria; Cell Division; Electron Microscopy (EM); Fluorescence; GTPase; Tubulin

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