Bacterial cell division protein FtsZ is stable against degradation by AAA family protease FtsH in Escherichia coli cells



We have found that FtsH protease of Escherichia coli could degrade E. coli cell division protein FtsZ in an ATP- and Zn2+-dependent manner in vitro and that the degradation did not show specificity for the N-terminus or C-terminus of FtsZ, like in the case of degradation of its conventional substrate σ32 protein. In continuation of these observations, in the present study, we examined whether FtsH would affect the stability and turnover of FtsZ in vivo. We found that FtsZ levels were not elevated in E. coli AR754 (ftsH1 ts) cells at nonpermissive temperature as compared to the levels in an FtsH-active isogenic AR753 strain. Neither did FtsH degrade ectopically expressed FtsZ in AR754 strain nor did ectopic expression of FtsH reduced FtsZ levels in E. coli AR5090 ftsH null strain (ftsH::kan, sfhC21). Pulse chase experiments in AR754 and AR5090 strains showed that there were no compensatory changes in FtsZ turnover, in case FtsZ degradation had occurred. Even under cell division arrested conditions, wherein FtsZ was not required, FtsH protease did not degrade unutilized FtsZ. These experiments demonstrate that either FtsH protease may not have a role in regulating the levels of FtsZ in vivo under the conditions tested or that some cellular component(s) might be stabilising FtsZ against FtsH protease. (© 2007 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim)