Peptidoglycan synthesis drives an FtsZ-treadmilling-independent step of cytokinesis

João M. Monteiro, Ana R. Pereira, Nathalie T. Reichmann, Bruno M. Saraiva, Pedro B. Fernandes, Helena Veiga, Andreia C. Tavares, Margarida Santos, Maria T. Ferreira, Vânia Macário, Michael S. VanNieuwenhze, Sérgio R. Filipe, Mariana G. Pinho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Citations (Scopus)


© 2018 Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature. All rights reserved. Peptidoglycan is the main component of the bacterial wall and protects cells from the mechanical stress that results from high intracellular turgor. Peptidoglycan biosynthesis is very similar in all bacteria; bacterial shapes are therefore mainly determined by the spatial and temporal regulation of peptidoglycan synthesis rather than by the chemical composition of peptidoglycan. The form of rod-shaped bacteria, such as Bacillus subtilis or Escherichia coli, is generated by the action of two peptidoglycan synthesis machineries that act at the septum and at the lateral wall in processes coordinated by the cytoskeletal proteins FtsZ and MreB, respectively. The tubulin homologue FtsZ is the first protein recruited to the division site, where it assembles in filaments - forming the Z ring - that undergo treadmilling and recruit later divisome proteins. The rate of treadmilling in B. subtilis controls the rates of both peptidoglycan synthesis and cell division. The actin homologue MreB forms discrete patches that move circumferentially around the cell in tracks perpendicular to the long axis of the cell, and organize the insertion of new cell wall during elongation. Cocci such as Staphylococcus aureus possess only one type of peptidoglycan synthesis machinery, which is diverted from the cell periphery to the septum in preparation for division. The molecular cue that coordinates this transition has remained elusive. Here we investigate the localization of S. aureus peptidoglycan biosynthesis proteins and show that the recruitment of the putative lipid II flippase MurJ to the septum, by the DivIB-DivIC-FtsL complex, drives peptidoglycan incorporation to the midcell. MurJ recruitment corresponds to a turning point in cytokinesis, which is slow and dependent on FtsZ treadmilling before MurJ arrival but becomes faster and independent of FtsZ treadmilling after peptidoglycan synthesis activity is directed to the septum, where it provides additional force for cell envelope constriction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)528-532
Number of pages5
Issue number7693
Publication statusPublished - 22 Feb 2018


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