Bacterial Cell Division

Bacteria, such as Escherichia coli multiply by elongating, at a certain stage of elongation beginning the formation of a septum at mid-cell, and finally completing the septum and dividing into two cells. We are studying three membrane proteins required for this process, FtsI, FtsQ and FtsL . Using immunofluorescent microscopy and green fluorescent fusion proteins (see picture), we have shown that all three localize to the septal region of the cell before septum formation detectably starts. Using mutants for each of these proteins, we have determined the order in which they function. We are studying the components of these proteins that determine their localization to the septum, initially by swapping domains of these proteins with other proteins. Our overall interest is in the function of these proteins in septum formation and the process of assembly of the proteins in this region.

FtsL ring

People currently involved in this project: Mark Gonzalez

Recent Publications:

Goehring, N.W.,  Robichon, C. and Beckwith, J. A role for the non-essential N-terminus of FtsN in divisome assembly.  J. Bacteriol. 189:646-649 (2007).

Goehring, N.W., Petrovska, I., Boyd, D., and Beckwith, J.  Mutants, suppressors, and wrinkled colonies: Mutant alleles of the cell division gene ftsQ point to functional domains in FtsQ and a role for domain 1C of FtsA in divisome assembly.  J Bacteriol. 189:633-45 (2007).     

Goehring, N., Gonzalez, M.D., and Beckwith, J. Premature targeting of cell division proteins to midcell reveals hierarchies of protein interactions involved in divisome assembly.  Mol. Microbiol. 61:33-45 (2006).

Goehring, N., and Beckwith, J. Diverse paths to midcell: assembly of the bacterial cell division machinery. Curr. Biol. 15:R514-R526 (2005).

Buddelmeijer N, Beckwith J. A complex of the Escherichia coli cell division proteins FtsL, FtsB and FtsQ forms independently of its localization to the septal region. (2004). Abstract. Paper.

Buddelmeijer N, Beckwith J. Assembly of cell division proteins at the E. coli cell center.
Curr Opin Microbiol. 5:553-557(2002). Abstract. Paper.

Buddelmeijer N, Judson N, Boyd D, Mekalanos JJ, Beckwith J. YgbQ, a cell division protein in Escherichia coli and Vibrio cholerae, localizes in codependent fashion with FtsL to the division site. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 99:6316-6321 (2002). Abstract. Paper

Chen JC, Minev M, Beckwith J. Analysis of ftsQ Mutant Alleles in Escherichia coli: Complementation, Septal Localization, and Recruitment of Downstream Cell Division Proteins. J. Bacteriol. 184:695-705 (2002). Abstract. Paper.

Chen JC, Beckwith J. FtsQ, FtsL and FtsI require FtsK, but not FtsN, for co-localization with FtsZ during Escherichia coli cell division. Mol Microbiol. 42:395-413.(2001). Abstract. Paper.

Ghigo, J.-M., Beckwith, J. Cell division in Escherichia coli: the role of FtsL domains in septal localization, function, and oligomerization. J. Bacteriol. 182:116-129. (2000). Abstract .

Weiss DS, Chen JC, Ghigo JM, Boyd D, Beckwith J. Localization of FtsI (PBP3) to the septal ring requires its membrane anchor, the Z ring, FtsA, FtsQ, and FtsL. J Bacteriol. 181:508-20 (1999) Abstract.

Ghigo JM, Weiss DS, Chen JC, Yarrow JC, Beckwith J. Localization of FtsL to the Escherichia coli septal ring. Mol Microbiol. 31:725-37 (1999) Abstract.

Chen JC, Weiss DS, Ghigo JM, Beckwith J. Septal localization of FtsQ, an essential cell division protein in Escherichia coli. J Bacteriol. 181:521-30 (1999) Abstract. Paper.

Weiss, D.S., Pogliano, K., Carson, M., Guzman, L.-M., Fraipont, C., Nguyen-Distèche,M., Losick, R., and Beckwith, J. Localization of the Escherichia coli cell division protein FtsI (PBP3) to the division site and cell pole. Mol. Microbiol. 25:671-681 (1997) Abstract. Paper.

Guzman, L.M., Weiss, D.S., and Beckwith, J. Domain swapping analysis of FtsI, FtsL and FtsQ: bitopic membrane proteins essential for cell divsion inEscherichia coli. J. Bacteriol. 179:5094-5103 (1997) Abstract. Paper.