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Mol Microbiol. 2015 Feb;95(3):365-82. doi: 10.1111/mmi.12855. Epub 2014 Dec 8.

Chlamydia trachomatis protein CT009 is a structural and functional homolog to the key morphogenesis component RodZ and interacts with division septal plane localized MreB.

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Department of Molecular Biosciences, University of Kansas, Haworth Hall, 1200 Sunnyside Avenue, Lawrence, KS, 66045, USA.


Cell division in Chlamydiae is poorly understood as apparent homologs to most conserved bacterial cell division proteins are lacking and presence of elongation (rod shape) associated proteins indicate non-canonical mechanisms may be employed. The rod-shape determining protein MreB has been proposed as playing a unique role in chlamydial cell division. In other organisms, MreB is part of an elongation complex that requires RodZ for proper function. A recent study reported that the protein encoded by ORF CT009 interacts with MreB despite low sequence similarity to RodZ. The studies herein expand on those observations through protein structure, mutagenesis and cellular localization analyses. Structural analysis indicated that CT009 shares high level of structural similarity to RodZ, revealing the conserved orientation of two residues critical for MreB interaction. Substitutions eliminated MreB protein interaction and partial complementation provided by CT009 in RodZ deficient Escherichia coli. Cellular localization analysis of CT009 showed uniform membrane staining in Chlamydia. This was in contrast to the localization of MreB, which was restricted to predicted septal planes. MreB localization to septal planes provides direct experimental observation for the role of MreB in cell division and supports the hypothesis that it serves as a functional replacement for FtsZ in Chlamydia.

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