SepF is the FtsZ anchor in archaea, with features of an ancestral cell division system

Nika Pende, Adrià Sogues, Daniela Megrian, Anna Sartori-Rupp, Patrick England, Hayk Palabikyan, Simon K-M R Rittmann, Martín Graña, Anne Marie Wehenkel, Pedro M Alzari, Simonetta Gribaldo

Most archaea divide by binary fission using an FtsZ-based system similar to that of bacteria, but they lack many of the divisome components described in model bacterial organisms. Notably, among the multiple factors that tether FtsZ to the membrane during bacterial cell constriction, archaea only possess SepF-like homologs. Here, we combine structural, cellular, and evolutionary analyses to demonstrate that SepF is the FtsZ anchor in the human-associated archaeon Methanobrevibacter smithii. 3D super-resolution microscopy and quantitative analysis of immunolabeled cells show that SepF transiently co-localizes with FtsZ at the septum and possibly primes the future division plane. M. smithii SepF binds to membranes and to FtsZ, inducing filament bundling. High-resolution crystal structures of archaeal SepF alone and in complex with the FtsZ C-terminal domain (FtsZCTD) reveal that SepF forms a dimer with a homodimerization interface driving a binding mode that is different from that previously reported in bacteria. Phylogenetic analyses of SepF and FtsZ from bacteria and archaea indicate that the two proteins may date back to the Last Universal Common Ancestor (LUCA), and we speculate that the archaeal mode of SepF/FtsZ interaction might reflect an ancestral feature. Our results provide insights into the mechanisms of archaeal cell division and pave the way for a better understanding of the processes underlying the divide between the two prokaryotic domains.

Department für Funktionelle und Evolutionäre Ökologie
Externe Organisation(en)
Institut Pasteur de Montevideo, Université Sorbonne-Paris-Cité, Université de Paris, Institut Pasteur
Nature Communications
Anzahl der Seiten
ÖFOS 2012
106022 Mikrobiologie
ASJC Scopus Sachgebiete
Physics and Astronomy(all), Chemistry(all), Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
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