FtsZ ring structure associated with division in Escherichia coli

Nature. 1991 Nov 14;354(6349):161-4. doi: 10.1038/354161a0.


Genes for cell division have been identified in Escherichia coli by the isolation of conditional lethal mutations that block cell division, but do not affect DNA replication or segregation. Of these genes, ftsZ is of great interest as it acts earliest in the division pathway, is essential, its level dictates the frequency of division, and it is thought to be the target of two cell-division inhibitors, SulA, produced in response to DNA damage, and MinCD, which prevents division at old sites. Here we have used immunoelectronmicroscopy to localize the FtsZ protein to the division site. The results suggest that FtsZ self-assembles into a ring structure at the future division site and may function as a cytoskeletal element. The formation of this ring may be the point at which division is regulated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cell Division
  • Cell Membrane / ultrastructure
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins*
  • Escherichia coli / ultrastructure*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Microscopy, Electron


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • FtsZ protein, Bacteria