1. Cell Biology
  2. Structural Biology and Molecular Biophysics
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Lateral interactions between protofilaments of the bacterial tubulin homolog FtsZ are essential for cell division

  1. Fenghui Guan
  2. Jiayu Yu
  3. Jie Yu
  4. Yang Liu
  5. Ying Li
  6. Xin-Hua Feng
  7. Kerwyn Casey Huang
  8. Zengyi Chang  Is a corresponding author
  9. Sheng Ye  Is a corresponding author
  1. Zhejiang University, China
  2. Peking University, China
  3. Stanford University, United States
Research Article
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Cite this article as: eLife 2018;7:e35578 doi: 10.7554/eLife.35578

Abstract

The prokaryotic tubulin homolog FtsZ polymerizes into protofilaments, which further assemble into higher-order structures at future division sites to form the Z-ring, a dynamic structure essential for bacterial cell division. The precise nature of interactions between FtsZ protofilaments that organize the Z-ring and their physiological significance remain enigmatic. In this study, we solved two crystallographic structures of a pair of FtsZ protofilaments,and demonstrated that they assemble in an antiparallel manner through the formation of two different inter-protofilament lateral interfaces. Our in vivo photocrosslinking studies confirmed that such lateral interactions occur in living cells, and disruption of the lateral interactions rendered cells unable to divide. The inherently weak lateral interactions enable FtsZ protofilaments to self-organize into a dynamic Z-ring. These results have fundamental implications for our understanding of bacterial cell division and for developing antibiotics that target this key process.

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Fenghui Guan

    Life Sciences Institute, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  2. Jiayu Yu

    School of Life Sciences, Peking University, Beijing, China
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  3. Jie Yu

    Life Sciences Institute, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  4. Yang Liu

    School of Life Sciences, Peking University, Beijing, China
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  5. Ying Li

    Life Sciences Institute, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  6. Xin-Hua Feng

    Life Sciences Institute, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  7. Kerwyn Casey Huang

    Department of Bioengineering, Stanford University, Stanford, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  8. Zengyi Chang

    School of Life Sciences, Peking University, Beijing, China
    For correspondence
    changzy@pku.edu.cn
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  9. Sheng Ye

    Life Sciences Institute, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China
    For correspondence
    sye@zju.edu.cn
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0001-9300-6257

Funding

Ministry of Science and Technology of the People's Republic of China (2016YFA0500404)

  • Sheng Ye

Ministry of Science and Technology of the People's Republic of China (2014CB910300)

  • Sheng Ye

Ministry of Science and Technology of the People's Republic of China (2012CB917300)

  • Zengyi Chang

National Natural Science Foundation of China (31525001)

  • Sheng Ye

National Natural Science Foundation of China (31430019)

  • Sheng Ye

National Natural Science Foundation of China (31670775)

  • Zengyi Chang

National Natural Science Foundation of China (31470766)

  • Zengyi Chang

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Edward H Egelman, University of Virginia, United States

Publication history

  1. Received: January 31, 2018
  2. Accepted: June 10, 2018
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: June 11, 2018 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: July 17, 2018 (version 2)

Copyright

© 2018, Guan et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.

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