MinC, MinD, and MinE drive counter-oscillation of early-cell-division proteins prior to Escherichia coli septum formation

Paola Bisicchia, Senthil Arumugam, Petra Schwille, David Sherratt

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32 Citations (Scopus)


Bacterial cell division initiates with the formation of a ring-like structure at the cell center composed of the tubulin homolog FtsZ (the Z-ring), which acts as a scaffold for the assembly of the cell division complex, the divisome. Previous studies have suggested that the divisome is initially composed of FtsZ polymers stabilized by membrane anchors FtsA and ZipA, which then recruit the remaining division proteins. The MinCDE proteins prevent the formation of the Z-ring at poles by oscillating from pole to pole, thereby ensuring that the concentration of the Z-ring inhibitor, MinC, is lowest at the cell center. We show that prior to septum formation, the early-division proteins ZipA, ZapA, and ZapB, along with FtsZ, assemble into complexes that counter-oscillate with respect to MinC, and with the same period. We propose that FtsZ molecules distal from high concentrations of MinC form relatively slowly diffusing filaments that are bound by ZapAB and targeted to the inner membrane by ZipA or FtsA. These complexes may facilitate the early stages of divisome assembly at midcell. As MinC oscillates toward these complexes, FtsZ oligomerization and bundling are inhibited, leading to shorter or monomeric FtsZ complexes, which become less visible by epifluorescence microscopy because of their rapid diffusion. Reconstitution of FtsZ-Min waves on lipid bilayers shows that FtsZ bundles partition away from high concentrations of MinC and that ZapA appears to protect FtsZ from MinC by inhibiting FtsZ turnover.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere00856-13
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes

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