During evolution, viruses have optimized the interaction with host factors to increase the efficiency of fundamental processes such as DNA replication. Bacteriophage 29 protein p1 is a membrane-associated protein that forms large protofilament sheets that resemble eukaryotic tubulin and bacterial filamenting temperature-sensitive mutant Z protein (FtsZ) polymers. In the absence of protein p1, phage 29 DNA replication is impaired. Here we show that a functional fusion of protein p1 to YFP localizes at the medial region of Bacillus subtilis cells independently of other phage-encoded proteins. We also show that 29 protein p1 colocalizes with the B. subtilis cell division protein FtsZ and provide evidence that FtsZ and protein p1 are associated. Importantly, the midcell localization of YFP-p1 was disrupted in a strain that does not express FtsZ, and the fluorescent signal was distributed all over the cell. Depletion of penicillin-binding protein 2B (PBP2B) in B. subtilis cells did not affect the subcellular localization of YFP-p1, indicating that its distribution does not depend on septal wall synthesis. Interestingly, when 29 protein p1 was expressed, B. subtilis cells were about 1.5-fold longer than control cells, and the accumulation of 29 DNA was higher in mutant B. subtilis cells with increased length. We discuss the biological role of p1 and FtsZ in the 29 growth cycle.
Keywords: Z ring; bacterial enlargement; cytokinesis; viral replication.