Direct interaction of FtsZ and MreB is required for septum synthesis and cell division in Escherichia coli

Authors

  • Andrew K Fenton,

    1. Centre for Bacterial Cell Biology, Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences, Baddiley-Clark Building, Medical School, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
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  • Kenn Gerdes

    Corresponding author
    1. Centre for Bacterial Cell Biology, Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences, Baddiley-Clark Building, Medical School, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
    • Corresponding author. Centre for Bacterial Cell Biology, Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences, Baddiley-Clark Building, Medical School, Newcastle University, Richardson Road, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4AX, UK. Tel.:+44 (0)191 2225318; Fax:+44 (0)191 2227424; E-mail: kenn.gerdes@ncl.ac.uk

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Abstract

How bacteria coordinate cell growth with division is not well understood. Bacterial cell elongation is controlled by actin–MreB while cell division is governed by tubulin–FtsZ. A ring-like structure containing FtsZ (the Z ring) at mid-cell attracts other cell division proteins to form the divisome, an essential protein assembly required for septum synthesis and cell separation. The Z ring exists at mid-cell during a major part of the cell cycle without contracting. Here, we show that MreB and FtsZ of Escherichia coli interact directly and that this interaction is required for Z ring contraction. We further show that the MreB–FtsZ interaction is required for transfer of cell-wall biosynthetic enzymes from the lateral to the mature divisome, allowing cells to synthesise the septum. Our observations show that bacterial cell division is coupled to cell elongation via a direct and essential interaction between FtsZ and MreB.

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