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J Biol Chem. 2017 Dec 15;292(50):20509-20527. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M117.809939. Epub 2017 Oct 31.

The intrinsically disordered C-terminal linker of FtsZ regulates protofilament dynamics and superstructure in vitro.

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From the Department of Biological Chemistry, The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21205.
From the Department of Biological Chemistry, The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21205


The bacterial tubulin FtsZ polymerizes to form a discontinuous ring that drives bacterial cell division by directing local cell wall synthesis. FtsZ comprises a polymerizing GTPase domain, an intrinsically disordered C-terminal linker (CTL), and a C-terminal conserved peptide (CTC). FtsZ protofilaments align circumferentially in the cell, with the CTC mediating attachment to membrane-associated division proteins. The assembly of FtsZ protofilaments into dynamic clusters is critical for cell division, but the interactions between protofilaments and regulatory mechanisms that mediate cluster assembly and dynamics are unknown. Here, we describe a role for the CTL of Caulobacter crescentus FtsZ as an intrinsic regulator of lateral interactions between protofilaments in vitro FtsZ lacking its CTL (ΔCTL) shows a dramatically increased propensity to form long multifilament bundles compared with wild type (WT). ΔCTL also displays a reduced GTP hydrolysis rate compared with WT, but this altered activity does not account for bundle formation, as reducing protofilament turnover in WT is not sufficient to induce bundling. Surprisingly, binding of the membrane-anchoring protein FzlC disrupts ΔCTL bundling in a CTC-dependent manner. Moreover, the CTL affects the ability of the FtsZ curving protein FzlA to promote formation of helical bundles. We conclude that the CTL of FtsZ influences polymer structure and dynamics both through intrinsic effects on lateral interactions and turnover and by influencing extrinsic regulation of FtsZ by binding partners. Our characterization of CTL function provides a biochemical handle for understanding the relationship between FtsZ-ring structure and function in bacterial cytokinesis.


Caulobacter crescentus; FtsZ; bacteria; bundling; cytokinesis; cytoskeleton; electron microscopy (EM); intrinsically disordered protein

[Available on 2018-12-15]
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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