Identification of ZapD as a cell division factor that promotes the assembly of FtsZ in Escherichia coli

J Bacteriol. 2012 Jun;194(12):3189-98. doi: 10.1128/JB.00176-12. Epub 2012 Apr 13.


The tubulin homolog FtsZ forms a polymeric membrane-associated ring structure (Z ring) at midcell that establishes the site of division and provides an essential framework for the localization of a multiprotein molecular machine that promotes division in Escherichia coli. A number of regulatory proteins interact with FtsZ and modulate FtsZ assembly/disassembly processes, ensuring the spatiotemporal integrity of cytokinesis. The Z-associated proteins (ZapA, ZapB, and ZapC) belong to a group of FtsZ-regulatory proteins that exhibit functionally redundant roles in stabilizing FtsZ-ring assembly by binding and bundling polymeric FtsZ at midcell. In this study, we report the identification of ZapD (YacF) as a member of the E. coli midcell division machinery. Genetics and cell biological evidence indicate that ZapD requires FtsZ but not other downstream division proteins for localizing to midcell, where it promotes FtsZ-ring assembly via molecular mechanisms that overlap with ZapA. Biochemical evidence indicates that ZapD directly interacts with FtsZ and promotes bundling of FtsZ protofilaments. Similarly to ZapA, ZapB, and ZapC, ZapD is dispensable for division and therefore belongs to the growing group of FtsZ-associated proteins in E. coli that aid in the overall fitness of the division process.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / genetics
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cell Division*
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / metabolism*
  • Escherichia coli / physiology*
  • Escherichia coli Proteins / genetics
  • Escherichia coli Proteins / metabolism*
  • Genes, Essential
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Interaction Mapping


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • Escherichia coli Proteins
  • FtsZ protein, Bacteria
  • ZapD protein, E coli