Maturation of the Escherichia coli divisome occurs in two steps

Authors

  • Mirjam E. G. Aarsman,

    1. Molecular Cytology, Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences, University of Amsterdam, Kruislaan 316, 1098 SM Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
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  • André Piette,

    1. Centre d’Ingénierie des Protéines, Université de Liège, Institut de Chimie, B6, B-4000 Sart Tilman (Liège), Belgium.
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  • Claudine Fraipont,

    1. Centre d’Ingénierie des Protéines, Université de Liège, Institut de Chimie, B6, B-4000 Sart Tilman (Liège), Belgium.
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  • Thessa M. F. Vinkenvleugel,

    1. Molecular Cytology, Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences, University of Amsterdam, Kruislaan 316, 1098 SM Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
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  • Martine Nguyen-Distèche,

    1. Centre d’Ingénierie des Protéines, Université de Liège, Institut de Chimie, B6, B-4000 Sart Tilman (Liège), Belgium.
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  • Tanneke den Blaauwen

    Corresponding author
    1. Molecular Cytology, Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences, University of Amsterdam, Kruislaan 316, 1098 SM Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
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E-mail blaauwen@science.uva.nl; Tel. (+31) 020 525 5196; Fax (+31) 020 525 6271.

Summary

Cell division proteins FtsZ (FtsA, ZipA, ZapA), FtsE/X, FtsK, FtsQ, FtsL/B, FtsW, PBP3, FtsN and AmiC localize at mid cell in Escherichia coli in an interdependent order as listed. To investigate whether this reflects a time dependent maturation of the divisome, the average cell age at which FtsZ, FtsQ, FtsW, PBP3 and FtsN arrive at their destination was determined by immuno- and GFP-fluorescence microscopy of steady state grown cells at a variety of growth rates. Consistently, a time delay of 14–21 min, depending on the growth rate, between Z-ring formation and the mid cell recruitment of proteins down stream of FtsK was found. We suggest a two-step model for bacterial division in which the Z-ring is involved in the switch from cylindrical to polar peptidoglycan synthesis, whereas the much later localizing cell division proteins are responsible for the modification of the envelope shape into that of two new poles.

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