Cell division in bacteria is a highly controlled and regulated process. FtsZ, a bacterial cytoskeletal protein, forms a ring-like structure known as the Z-ring and recruits more than a dozen other cell division proteins. The Min system oscillates between the poles and inhibits the Z-ring formation at the poles by perturbing FtsZ assembly. This leads to an increase in the FtsZ concentration at the mid-cell and helps in Z-ring positioning. MinC, the effector protein, interferes with Z-ring formation through two different mechanisms mediated by its two domains with the help of MinD. However, the mechanism by which MinD triggers MinC activity is not yet known. We showed that MinD directly interacts with FtsZ with an affinity stronger than the reported MinC–FtsZ interaction. We determined the MinD-binding site of FtsZ using computational, mutational and biochemical analyses. Our study showed that MinD binds to the H10 helix of FtsZ. Single-point mutations at the charged residues in the H10 helix resulted in a decrease in the FtsZ affinity towards MinD. Based on our findings, we propose a novel model for MinCD–FtsZ interaction, where MinD through its direct interaction with FtsZ would trigger MinC activity to inhibit FtsZ functions.

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