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A conserved cell division protein directly regulates FtsZ dynamics in filamentous and unicellular actinobacteria

By Felix Ramos-Léon, Matthew J. Bush, Joseph W. Sallmen, Govind Chandra, Jake Richardson, Kim C Findlay, Joseph R. McCormick, Susan Schlimpert

Posted 01 Oct 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.10.01.322578

Bacterial cell division is driven by the polymerization of the GTPase FtsZ into a contractile structure, the so-called Z-ring. This essential process involves proteins that modulate FtsZ dynamics and hence the overall Z-ring architecture. Actinobacteria, like Streptomyces and Mycobacterium lack known key FtsZ-regulators. Here we report the identification of SepH, a conserved actinobacterial protein that directly regulates FtsZ dynamics. We show that SepH is crucially involved in cell division in Streptomyces and that it binds FtsZ via a conserved helix-turn-helix motif, stimulating the assembly of FtsZ protofilaments. Comparative in vitro studies using the SepH homolog from Mycobacterium further reveal that SepH can also bundle FtsZ protofilaments, indicating an additional Z-ring stabilizing function in vivo . We propose that SepH plays a crucial role at the onset of cytokinesis in actinobacteria by promoting the rapid assembly of FtsZ filaments into division-competent Z-rings that can go on to mediate septum synthesis.

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