FtsZ from divergent foreign bacteria can function for cell division in Escherichia coli.
FtsZs from Mycoplasma pulmonis (MpuFtsZ) and Bacillus subtilis (BsFtsZ) are only 46% and 53% identical in amino acid sequence to FtsZ from Escherichia coli (EcFtsZ). In the present study we show that MpuFtsZ and BsFtsZ can function for cell division in E. coli provided we make two modifications. First, we replaced their C-terminal tails with that from E. coli, giving the foreign FtsZ the binding site for E. coli FtsA and ZipA. Second, we selected for mutations in the E. coli genome that facilitated division by the foreign FtsZs. These suppressor strains arose at a relatively high frequency of 10(-3) to 10(-5), suggesting that they involve loss-of-function mutations in multigene pathways. These pathways may be negative regulators of FtsZ or structural pathways that facilitate division by slightly defective FtsZ. Related suppressor strains were obtained for EcFtsZ containing certain point mutations or insertions of yellow fluorescent protein. The ability of highly divergent FtsZs to function for division in E. coli is consistent with a two-part mechanism. FtsZ assembles the Z ring, and perhaps generates the constriction force, through self interactions; the downstream division proteins remodel the peptidoglycan wall by interacting with each other and the wall. The C-terminal peptide of FtsZ, which binds FtsA, provides the link between FtsZ assembly and peptidoglycan remodeling.
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