Agrobacterium tumefaciens divisome proteins regulate the transition from polar growth to cell division

Matthew Howell, Alena Aliashkevich, Kousik Sundararajan, Jeremy J. Daniel, Patrick J. Lariviere, Erin D. Goley, Felipe Cava, Pamela J.B. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The mechanisms that restrict peptidoglycan biosynthesis to the pole during elongation and re-direct peptidoglycan biosynthesis to mid-cell during cell division in polar-growing Alphaproteobacteria are largely unknown. Here, we explore the role of early division proteins of Agrobacterium tumefaciens including three FtsZ homologs, FtsA and FtsW in the transition from polar growth to mid-cell growth and ultimately cell division. Although two of the three FtsZ homologs localize to mid-cell, exhibit GTPase activity and form co-polymers, only one, FtsZ AT , is required for cell division. We find that FtsZ AT is required not only for constriction and cell separation, but also for initiation of peptidoglycan synthesis at mid-cell and cessation of polar peptidoglycan biosynthesis. Depletion of FtsZ AT in A. tumefaciens causes a striking phenotype: cells are extensively branched and accumulate growth active poles through tip splitting events. When cell division is blocked at a later stage by depletion of FtsA or FtsW, polar growth is terminated and ectopic growth poles emerge from mid-cell. Overall, this work suggests that A. tumefaciens FtsZ makes distinct contributions to the regulation of polar growth and cell division.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1074-1092
Number of pages19
JournalMolecular Microbiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology


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