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J Bacteriol. 1988 Apr;170(4):1533-40.

Division behavior and shape changes in isogenic ftsZ, ftsQ, ftsA, pbpB, and ftsE cell division mutants of Escherichia coli during temperature shift experiments.

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Department of Electron Microscopy and Molecular Cytology, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Isogenic ftsZ, ftsQ, ftsA, pbpB, and ftsE cell division mutants of Escherichia coli were compared with their parent strain in temperature shift experiments. To improve detection of phenotypic differences in division behavior and cell shape, the strains were grown in glucose-minimal medium with a decreased osmolality (about 100 mosM). Already at the premissive temperature, all mutants, particularly the pbpB and ftsQ mutants, showed an increased average cell length and cell mass. The pbpB and ftsQ mutants also exhibited a prolonged duration of the constriction period. All strains, except ftsZ, continued to initiate new constrictions at 42 degrees C, suggesting the involvement of FtsZ in an early step of the constriction process. The new constrictions were blunt in ftsQ and more pronounced in ftsA and pbpB filaments, which also had elongated median constrictions. Whereas the latter strains showed a slow recovery of cell division after a shift back to the permissive temperature, ftsZ and ftsQ filaments recovered quickly. Recovery of filaments occurred in all strains by the separation of newborn cells with an average length of two times LO, the length of newborn cells at the permissive temperature. The increased size of the newborn cells could indicate that the cell division machinery recovers too slowly to create normal-sized cells. Our results indicate a phenotypic resemblance between ftsA and pbpB mutants and suggest that the cell division gene products function in the order FtsZ-FtsQ-FtsA, PBP3. The ftsE mutant continued to constrict and divide at 42 degrees C, forming short filaments, which recovered quickly after a shift back to the permissive temperature. After prolonged growth at 42 degree C, chains of cells, which eventually swelled up, were formed. Although the ftsE mutant produced filaments in broth medium at the restrictive temperature, it cannot be considered a cell division mutant under the presently applied conditions.

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