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J Bacteriol. 1996 Mar;178(5):1328-34.

Topological characterization of the essential Escherichia coli cell division protein FtsN.

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Department of Microbiology, Molecular Genetics, and Immunology, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City 66160, USA.


Genetic and biochemical approaches were used to analyze a topological model for FtsN, a 36-kDa protein with a putative transmembrane segment near the N terminus, and to ascertain the requirements of the putative cytoplasmic and membrane-spanning domains for the function of this protein. Analysis of FtsN-PhoA fusions revealed that the putative transmembrane segment of FtsN could act as a translocation signal. Protease accessibility studies of FtsN in spheroblasts and inverted membrane vesicles confirmed that FtsN had a simple bitopic topology with a short cytoplasmic amino terminus, a single membrane-spanning domain, and a large periplasmic carboxy terminus. To ascertain the functional requirements of the N-terminal segments of FtsN, various constructs were made. Deletion of the N-terminal cytoplasmic and membrane-spanning domains led to intracellular localization of the carboxy domain, instability,and loss of function. Replacement of the N-terminal cytoplasmic and membrane-spanning domains with a membrane-spanning domain from MalG restored subcellular localization and function. These N-terminal domains of FtsN could also be replaced by the cleavable MalE signal sequence with restoration of subcellular localization and function. It is concluded that the N-terminal, cytoplasmic, and transmembrane domains of FtsN are not required for function of the carboxy domain other than to transport it to the periplasm. FtsQ and FtsI were also analyzed.

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