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Premature targeting of a cell division protein to midcell allows dissection of divisome assembly in Escherichia coli.

Goehring N.W., Gueiros-Filho F., Beckwith J.

Cell division in Escherichia coli requires the recruitment of at least 10 essential proteins to the bacterial midcell. Recruitment of these proteins follows a largely linear dependency pathway in which depletion of one cell division protein leads to the absence from the division site of "downstream" proteins in the pathway. Analysis of events that underlie this pathway is complicated by the fact that a protein's ability to recruit "downstream" proteins is dependent on its own recruitment by "upstream" proteins. Hence, one cannot separate the individual contributions of various upstream proteins to any specific recruitment step. Here we present a method--premature targeting--for bypassing the normal localization requirements of a cell division protein and apply it to FtsQ, a protein recruited midway through the pathway. We fused FtsQ to the FtsZ-binding protein ZapA such that FtsQ was targeted to FtsZ rings independently of proteins FtsA and FtsK, which are normally required for FtsQ localization. Analysis of the resulting ZapA-FtsQ fusion suggests that FtsQ associates with a large complex of cell division proteins and that premature targeting of FtsQ can restore localization of this complex under conditions in which neither FtsQ nor the associated proteins would normally be localized.

Genes Dev. 19:127-137(2005) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]