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Murein (peptidoglycan) binding property of the essential cell division protein FtsN from Escherichia coli

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Waldemar Vollmer


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The binding of the essential cell division protein FtsN of Escherichia coli to the murein (peptidoglycan) sacculus was studied. Soluble truncated variants of FtsN, including the complete periplasmic part of the protein as well as a variant containing only the C-terminal 77 amino acids, did bind to purified murein sacculi isolated from wild-type cells. FtsN variants lacking this C-terminal region showed reduced or no binding to murein. Binding of FtsN was severely reduced when tested against sacculi isolated either from filamentous cells with blocked cell division or from chain-forming cells of a triple amidase mutant. Binding experiments with radioactively labeled murein digestion products revealed that the longer murein glycan strands (>25 disaccharide units) showed a specific affinity to FtsN, but neither muropeptides, peptides, nor short glycan fragments bound to FtsN. In vivo FtsN could be cross-linked to murein with the soluble disulfide bridge containing cross-linker DTSSP. Less FtsN, but similar amounts of OmpA, was cross-linked to murein of filamentous or of chain-forming cells compared to levels in wild-type cells. Expression of truncated FtsN variants in cells depleted in full-length FtsN revealed that the presence of the C-terminal murein-binding domain was not required for cell division under laboratory conditions. FtsN was present in 3,000 to 6,000 copies per cell in exponentially growing wild-type E. coli MC1061. We discuss the possibilities that the binding of FtsN to murein during cell division might either stabilize the septal region or might have a function unrelated to cell division.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Ursinus A, van den Ent F, Brechtel S, de Pedro M, Höltje J-V, Löwe J, Vollmer W

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Bacteriology

Year: 2004

Volume: 186

Issue: 20

Pages: 6728-6737

ISSN (print): 0021-9193

ISSN (electronic): 1067-8832

Publisher: American Society for Microbiology


DOI: 10.1128/JB.186.20.6728-6737.2004


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