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Mol Microbiol. 1998 Jul;29(2):491-503.

Assembly of the FtsZ ring at the central division site in the absence of the chromosome.

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Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, University of Texas Medical School, Houston 77030, USA.


The FtsZ ring assembles between segregated daughter chromosomes in prokaryotic cells and is essential for cell division. To understand better how the FtsZ ring is influenced by chromosome positioning and structure in Escherichia coli, we investigated its localization in parC and mukB mutants that are defective for chromosome segregation. Cells of both mutants at non-permissive temperatures were either filamentous with unsegregated nucleoids or short and anucleate. In parC filaments, FtsZ rings tended to localize only to either side of the central unsegregated nucleoid and rarely to the cell midpoint; however, medial rings reappeared soon after switching back to the permissive temperature. Filamentous mukB cells were usually longer and lacked many potential rings. At temperatures permissive for mukB viability, medial FtsZ rings assembled despite the presence of apparently unsegregated nucleoids. However, a significant proportion of these FtsZ rings were mislocalized or structurally abnormal. The most surprising result of this study was revealed upon further examination of FtsZ ring positioning in anucleate cells generated by the parC and mukB mutants: many of these cells, despite having no chromosome, possessed FtsZ rings at their midpoints. This discovery strongly suggests that the chromosome itself is not required for the proper positioning and development of the medial division site.

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