Accurate positioning of the division site is essential to generate appropriately sized daughter cells with the correct chromosome number. In bacteria, division generally depends on assembly of the tubulin homologue FtsZ into the Z-ring at the division site. Here, we show that lack of the ParA-like protein PomZ in Myxococcus xanthus resulted in division defects with the formation of chromosome-free minicells and filamentous cells. Lack of PomZ also caused reduced formation of Z-rings and incorrect positioning of the few Z-rings formed. PomZ localization is cell cycle regulated, and PomZ accumulates at the division site at midcell after chromosome segregation but prior to FtsZ as well as in the absence of FtsZ. FtsZ displayed cooperative GTP hydrolysis in vitro but did not form detectable filaments in vitro. PomZ interacted with FtsZ in M. xanthus cell extracts. These data show that PomZ is important for Z-ring formation and is a spatial regulator of Z-ring formation and cell division. The cell cycle-dependent localization of PomZ at midcell provides a mechanism for coupling cell cycle progression and Z-ring formation. Moreover, the data suggest that PomZ is part of a system that recruits FtsZ to midcell, thereby, restricting Z-ring formation to this position.
© 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.