Interplay of the serine/threonine-kinase StkP and the paralogs DivIVA and GpsB in pneumococcal cell elongation and division

PLoS Genet. 2014 Apr 10;10(4):e1004275. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1004275. eCollection 2014 Apr.

Abstract

Despite years of intensive research, much remains to be discovered to understand the regulatory networks coordinating bacterial cell growth and division. The mechanisms by which Streptococcus pneumoniae achieves its characteristic ellipsoid-cell shape remain largely unknown. In this study, we analyzed the interplay of the cell division paralogs DivIVA and GpsB with the ser/thr kinase StkP. We observed that the deletion of divIVA hindered cell elongation and resulted in cell shortening and rounding. By contrast, the absence of GpsB resulted in hampered cell division and triggered cell elongation. Remarkably, ΔgpsB elongated cells exhibited a helical FtsZ pattern instead of a Z-ring, accompanied by helical patterns for DivIVA and peptidoglycan synthesis. Strikingly, divIVA deletion suppressed the elongated phenotype of ΔgpsB cells. These data suggest that DivIVA promotes cell elongation and that GpsB counteracts it. Analysis of protein-protein interactions revealed that GpsB and DivIVA do not interact with FtsZ but with the cell division protein EzrA, which itself interacts with FtsZ. In addition, GpsB interacts directly with DivIVA. These results are consistent with DivIVA and GpsB acting as a molecular switch to orchestrate peripheral and septal PG synthesis and connecting them with the Z-ring via EzrA. The cellular co-localization of the transpeptidases PBP2x and PBP2b as well as the lipid-flippases FtsW and RodA in ΔgpsB cells further suggest the existence of a single large PG assembly complex. Finally, we show that GpsB is required for septal localization and kinase activity of StkP, and therefore for StkP-dependent phosphorylation of DivIVA. Altogether, we propose that the StkP/DivIVA/GpsB triad finely tunes the two modes of peptidoglycan (peripheral and septal) synthesis responsible for the pneumococcal ellipsoid cell shape.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / metabolism
  • Cell Division / genetics
  • Cell Division / physiology*
  • Cell Wall / metabolism
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / metabolism
  • Morphogenesis / physiology
  • Peptidoglycan / metabolism
  • Phosphorylation / genetics
  • Phosphorylation / physiology
  • Protein Interaction Maps / physiology
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae / genetics
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae / metabolism*

Substances

  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • Peptidoglycan
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases