The min system and nucleoid occlusion are not required for identifying the division site in bacillus subtilis but ensure its efficient utilization

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Journal Article
PLoS Genetics, 2012, 8 (3)
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Precise temporal and spatial control of cell division is essential for progeny survival. The current general view is that precise positioning of the division site at midcell in rod-shaped bacteria is a result of the combined action of the Min system and nucleoid (chromosome) occlusion. Both systems prevent assembly of the cytokinetic Z ring at inappropriate places in the cell, restricting Z rings to the correct site at midcell. Here we show that in the bacterium Bacillus subtilis Z rings are positioned precisely at midcell in the complete absence of both these systems, revealing the existence of a mechanism independent of Min and nucleoid occlusion that identifies midcell in this organism. We further show that Z ring assembly at midcell is delayed in the absence of Min and Noc proteins, while at the same time FtsZ accumulates at other potential division sites. This suggests that a major role for Min and Noc is to ensure efficient utilization of the midcell division site by preventing Z ring assembly at potential division sites, including the cell poles. Our data lead us to propose a model in which spatial regulation of division in B. subtilis involves identification of the division site at midcell that requires Min and nucleoid occlusion to ensure efficient Z ring assembly there and only there, at the right time in the cell cycle. © 2012 Rodrigues, Harry.
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