The role of FtsZ-associated proteins in the regulation of the assembly dynamics of Mycobacterium smegmatis FtsZ is not clear. In this work, we examined the effect of M. smegmatis SepF on the assembly and stability of M. smegmatis FtsZ polymers. We discovered a single dominant point mutation in SepF (G51D or G51R) that renders the protein inactive. SepF promoted the polymerization of FtsZ, induced the bundling of FtsZ filaments, stabilized FtsZ filaments and reduced the GTPase activity of FtsZ. Surprisingly, both G51D-SepF and G51R-SepF neither stabilized FtsZ filaments nor showed a discernable effect on the GTPase activity of FtsZ. The binding affinity of SepF to FtsZ was found to be stronger than the binding affinity of G51R/D-SepF to FtsZ. Interestingly, the binding affinity of SepF to G51R-SepF was determined to be 45 times stronger than FtsZ. In addition, the interaction of SepF with G51R-SepF was found to be 2.6 times stronger than SepF–SepF interaction. Furthermore, G51R-SepF impaired the ability of SepF to promote the assembly of FtsZ. In addition, the overexpression of G51R-SepF in M. smegmatis mc2 155 cells retarded the proliferation of these cells and increased the average length of the cells. The results indicated that SepF positively regulates the assembly of M. smegmatis FtsZ and the G51 residue has an important role in the functioning of SepF.

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