Conservation of dynamic localization among MinD and MinE orthologues: oscillation of Neisseria gonorrhoeae proteins in Escherichia coli

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Summary

Min proteins are involved in the correct placement of division septa in many bacterial species. In Escherichia coli (Ec) cells, these proteins oscillate from pole to pole, ostensibly to prevent unwanted polar septation. Here, we show that Min proteins from the coccus Neisseria gonorrhoeae (Ng) also oscillate in E. coli. Green fluorescent protein (GFP) fusions to gonococcal MinD and MinE localized dynamically in different E. coli backgrounds. GFP–MinDNg moved from pole to pole in rod-shaped E. coli cells with a 70 ± 25 s localization cycle when MinENg was expressed in cis. The oscillation time of GFP–MinDNg was reduced when wild-type MinENg was replaced with MinENg carrying a R30D mutation, but lengthened by 15 s when activated by MinEEc. Several mutations in the N-terminal domain of MinDNg, including K16Q and 4- and 19-amino acid truncations, prevented oscillation; these MinDNg mutants showed decreased or lost interaction with themselves and MinENg. Like MinEEc–GFP, MinENg–GFP formed MinE rings and oscillated in E. coli cells when MinDEc was expressed in cis. Finally, in round E. coli cells, GFP–MinDNg appeared to move in a plane parallel to completed septa. This pattern of movement is predicted to be similar in gonococcal cells, which also divide in alternating perpendicular planes.

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