Liposome division by a simple bacterial division machinery.
We previously reconstituted Z rings in tubular multilamellar liposomes with FtsZ-YFP-mts, where mts is a membrane-targeting amphiphilic helix. These reconstituted Z rings generated a constriction force but did not divide the thick-walled liposomes. Here we developed a unique system to observe Z rings in unilamellar liposomes. FtsZ-YFP-mts incorporated inside large, unilamellar liposomes formed patches that produced concave distortions when viewed at the equator of the liposome. When viewed en face at the top of the liposome, many of the patches were seen to be small Z rings, which still maintained the concave depressions. We also succeeded in reconstituting the more natural, two-protein system, with FtsA and FtsZ-YFP (having the FtsA-binding peptide instead of the mts). Unilamellar liposomes incorporating FtsA and FtsZ-YFP showed a variety of distributions, including foci and linear arrays. A small fraction of liposomes had obvious Z rings. These Z rings could constrict the liposomes and in some cases appeared to complete the division, leaving a clear septum between the two daughter liposomes. Because complete liposome divisions were not seen with FtsZ-mts, FtsA may be critical for the final membrane scission event. We demonstrate that reconstituted cell division machinery apparently divides the liposome in vitro.
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