A new FtsZ-interacting protein, YlmF, complements the activity of FtsA during progression of cell division in Bacillus subtilis


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The assembly of ring-like structures, composed of FtsZ proteins (i.e. the Z ring), is the earliest and most essential process in bacterial cytokinesis. It has been shown that this process is directly regulated by the FtsZ-binding proteins, FtsA, ZapA, and EzrA, in Bacillus subtilis. In this study, protein complexes that are involved in Z-ring formation were chemically cross-linked in vivo, purified by affinity chromatography, and analysed by mass spectrometry. Analysis of the results identified YlmF as a new component of the FtsZ complex. Yeast two-hybrid analysis and fluorescence microscopy of YFP–YlmF in B. subtilis cells indicated YlmF localizes to the division site in an FtsZ-dependent manner. A single disruption of YlmF resulted in a slight elongation of cells; however, simultaneous inactivation of both YlmF and FtsA showed synthetic lethality caused by complete blockage of cell division due to the defect in Z-ring formation. In contrast, the ftsA-null mutant phenotype, caused by inefficient Z-ring formation, could be complemented by overexpression of YlmF. These results suggest that YlmF has an overlapping function with FtsA in stimulating the formation of Z rings in B. subtilis.