SpoIIIE and a novel type of DNA translocase, SftA, couple chromosome segregation with cell division in Bacillus subtilis

Authors

  • Christine Kaimer,

    1. Mikrobiologie, Fachbereich für Biologie, Universität Freiburg, Schänzle Straße 1, 79104 Freiburg, Germany.
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  • José Eduardo González-Pastor,

    1. Molecular Ecology Laboratory, Centro de Astrobiología (CSIC-INTA), Carretera de Ajalvir Km, 4. 28850 Torrejón de Ardoz, Madrid, Spain.
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  • Peter L. Graumann

    Corresponding author
    1. Mikrobiologie, Fachbereich für Biologie, Universität Freiburg, Schänzle Straße 1, 79104 Freiburg, Germany.
      E-mail peter.graumann@biologie.uni-freiburg.de; Tel. (+49) 7612032630; Fax (+49) 7612032773.
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E-mail peter.graumann@biologie.uni-freiburg.de; Tel. (+49) 7612032630; Fax (+49) 7612032773.

Summary

Cell division must only occur once daughter chromosomes have been fully separated. However, the initiating event of bacterial cell division, assembly of the FtsZ ring, occurs while chromosome segregation is still ongoing. We show that a two-step DNA translocase system exists in Bacillus subtilis that couples chromosome segregation and cell division. The membrane-bound DNA translocase SpoIIIE assembled very late at the division septum, and only upon entrapment of DNA, while its orthologue, SftA (YtpST), assembled at each septum in B. subtilis soon after FtsZ. Lack of SftA resulted in a moderate segregation defect at a late stage in the cell cycle. Like the loss of SpoIIIE, the absence of SftA was deleterious for the cells during conditions of defective chromosome segregation, or after induction of DNA damage. Lack of both proteins exacerbated all phenotypes. SftA forms soluble hexamers in solution, binds to DNA and has DNA-dependent ATPase activity, which is essential for its function in vivo. Our data suggest that SftA aids in moving DNA away from the closing septum, while SpoIIIE translocates septum-entrapped DNA only when septum closure precedes complete segregation of chromosomes.

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