Early targeting of Min proteins to the cell poles in germinated spores of Bacillus subtilis: Evidence for division apparatus-independent recruitment of Min proteins to the division site

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Journal Article
Molecular Microbiology, 2003, 47 (1), pp. 37 - 48
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The earliest event in bacterial cell division is the assembly of a tubulin-like protein, FtsZ, at mid-cell to form a ring. In rod-shaped bacteria, the Min system plays an important role in division site placement by inhibiting FtsZ ring formation specifically at the polar regions of the cell. The Min system comprises MinD and MinC, which form an inhibitor complex and, in Bacillus subtilis, DivIVA, which ensures that division is inhibited only in the polar regions. All three proteins localize to the division site at mid-cell and to cell poles. Their recruitment to the division site is dependent on localization of both 'early' and 'late' division proteins. We have examined the temporal and spatial localization of DivIVA relative to that of FtsZ during the first and second cell division after germination and outgrowth of B. subtilis spores. We show that, although the FtsZ ring assembles at mid-cell about halfway through the cell cycle, DivIVA assembles at this site immediately before cell division and persists there during Z-ring constriction and completion of division. We also show that both DivIVA and MinD localize to the cell poles immediately upon spore germination, well before a Z ring forms at mid-cell. Furthermore, these proteins were found to be present in mature, dormant spores. These results suggest that targeting of Min proteins to division sites does not depend directly on the assembly of the division apparatus, as suggested previously, and that potential polar division sites are blocked at the earliest possible stage in the cell cycle in germinated spores as a mechanism to ensure that equal-sized daughter cells are produced upon cell division.
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