A uniquely high number of ftsZ genes in the moss Physcomitrella patens


  • Editor
    R. Mendel

R. Reski, Plant Biotechnology, Faculty of Biology, University of Freiburg, Schaenzlestrasse 1, 79104 Freiburg, Germany.
E-mail: ralf.reski@biologie.uni-freiburg.de


Plant FtsZ proteins are encoded by two small nuclear gene families (FtsZ1 and FtsZ2) and are involved in chloroplast division. From the moss Physcomitrella patens, four FtsZ proteins, two in each nuclear gene family, have been characterised and described so far. In the recently sequenced P. patens genome, we have now found a fifth ftsZ gene. This novel gene has a genomic structure similar to PpftsZ1-1. According to phylogenetic analysis, the encoded protein is a member of the FtsZ1 family, while PpFtsZ1-2, together with an orthologue from Selaginella moellendorffii, forms a separate clade. Further, this new gene is expressed in different gametophytic tissues and the encoded protein forms filamentous networks in chloroplasts, is found in stromules, and acts in plastid division. Based on all these results, we have renamed the PpFtsZ proteins of family 1 and suggest the existence of a third FtsZ family. No species is known to encode more FtsZ proteins per haploid genome than P. patens.