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Cell & Molecular Biology


ClpXP is a two-component ATP-dependent protease that unfolds and degrades proteins bearing specific recognition signals. One substrate degraded by Escherichia coli ClpXP is FtsZ, an essential cell division protein. FtsZ forms polymers that assemble into a large ring-like structure, termed the Z-ring, during cell division at the site of constriction. The FtsZ monomer is composed of an N-terminal polymerization domain, an unstructured linker region and a C-terminal conserved region. To better understand substrate selection by ClpXP, we engineered FtsZ mutant proteins containing amino acid substitutions or deletions near the FtsZ C-terminus. We identified two discrete regions of FtsZ important for degradation of both FtsZ monomers and polymers by ClpXP in vitro. One region is located 30 residues away from the C-terminus in the unstructured linker region that connects the polymerization domain to the C-terminal region. The other region is near the FtsZ C-terminus and partially overlaps the recognition sites for several other FtsZ-interacting proteins, including MinC, ZipA and FtsA. Mutation of either region caused the protein to be more stable and mutation of both caused an additive effect, suggesting that both regions are important. We also observed that in vitro MinC inhibits degradation of FtsZ by ClpXP, suggesting that some of the same residues in the C-terminal site that are important for degradation by ClpXP are important for binding MinC.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication 1.0 License.