Role of two essential domains of Escherichia coli FtsA in localization and progression of the division ring



The FtsA protein is a member of the actin superfamily that localizes to the bacterial septal ring during cell division. Deletions of domain 1C or the S12 and S13 β-strands in domain 2B of the Escherichia coli FtsA, previously postulated to be involved in dimerization, result in partially active proteins that do not allow the normal progression of septation. The truncated FtsA protein lacking domain 1C (FtsAΔ1C) localizes in correctly placed division rings, together with FtsZ and ZipA, but does not interact with other FtsA molecules in the yeast two-hybrid assay, and fails to recruit FtsQ and FtsN into the division ring. The rings containing FtsAΔ1C are therefore incomplete and do not support division. The production of high levels of FtsAΔ1C causes filamentation, an effect that has been reported to result as well from the imbalance between FtsA+ and FtsZ+ molecules. These data indicate that the domain 1C of FtsA participates in the interaction of the protein with other FtsA molecules and with the other proteins that are incorporated at later stages of ring assembly, and is not involved in the interaction with FtsZ and the localization of FtsA to the septal ring. The deletion of the S12–S13 strands of domain 2B generates a protein (FtsAΔS12–13) that retains the ability to interact with FtsA+. When the mutated protein is expressed at wild-type levels, it localizes into division rings and recruits FtsQ and FtsN, but it fails to sustain septation at normal levels resulting in filamentation. A fivefold overexpression of FtsAΔS12–13 produces short cells that have normal division rings, but also cells with polar localization of the mutated protein, and cells with rings at abnormal positions that result in the production of a fraction (15%) of small nucleoid-free cells. The S12–S13 strands of domain 2B are not essential for septation, but affect the localization of the division ring.