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Polymorphism of FtsZ Filaments on Lipid Surfaces: Role of Monomer Orientation


Martos,  Ariadna
Schwille, Petra / Cellular and Molecular Biophysics, Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Encinar, M., Kralicek, A. V., Martos, A., Krupka, M., Cid, S., Alonso, A., et al. (2013). Polymorphism of FtsZ Filaments on Lipid Surfaces: Role of Monomer Orientation. LANGMUIR, 29(30), 9436-9446. doi:10.1021/la401673z.

FtsZ is a bacterial cytoskeletal protein involved in cell division. It forms a ringlike structure that attaches to the membrane to complete bacterial division. It binds and hydrolyzes GTP, assembling into polymers in a GTP-dependent manner. To test how the orientation of the monomers affects the curvature of the filaments on a surface, we performed site-directed mutagenesis on the E. coli FtsZ protein to insert cysteine residues at lateral locations to orient FtsZ on planar lipid bilayers. The E93C and S255C mutants were overproduced, purified, and found to be functionally active in solution, as well as being capable of sustaining cell division in vivo in complementation assays. Atomic force microscopy was used to observe the shape of the filament fibers formed on the surface. The FtsZ mutants were covalently linked to the lipids and could be polymerized on the bilayer surface in the presence of GTP. Unexpectedly, both mutants assembled into straight structures. E93C formed a well-defined lattice with monomers interacting at 60 degrees and 120 degrees angles, whereas S255C formed a more open array of straight thicker filament aggregates. These results indicate that filament curvature and bending are not fixed an that they can be modulated by the orientation of the monomers with respect to the membrane surface. As filament curvature has been associated with the force generation mechanism, these results point to a possible role of filament membrane attachment in lateral association and curvature, elements currently identified as relevant for force generation.