FtsA reshapes membrane architecture and remodels the Z-ring in Escherichia coli

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Cell division in prokaryotes initiates with assembly of the Z-ring at midcell, which, in Escherichia coli, is tethered to the inner leaflet of the cytoplasmic membrane through a direct interaction with FtsA, a widely conserved actin homolog. The Z-ring is comprised of polymers of tubulin-like FtsZ and has been suggested to provide the force for constriction. Here, we demonstrate that FtsA exerts force on membranes causing redistribution of membrane architecture, robustly hydrolyzes ATP and directly engages FtsZ polymers in a reconstituted system. Phospholipid reorganization by FtsA occurs rapidly and is mediated by insertion of a C-terminal membrane targeting sequence (MTS) into the bilayer and further promoted by a nucleotide-dependent conformational change relayed to the MTS. FtsA also recruits FtsZ to phospholipid vesicles via a direct interaction with the FtsZ C-terminus and regulates FtsZ assembly kinetics. These results implicate the actin homolog FtsA in establishment of a Z-ring scaffold, while directly remodeling the membrane and provide mechanistic insight into localized cell wall remodeling, invagination and constriction at the onset of division.

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Molecular Microbiology