A novel membrane anchor for FtsZ is linked to cell wall hydrolysis in Caulobacter crescentus

Mol Microbiol. 2016 Jul;101(2):265-80. doi: 10.1111/mmi.13388. Epub 2016 May 3.


In most bacteria, the tubulin-like GTPase FtsZ forms an annulus at midcell (the Z-ring) which recruits the division machinery and regulates cell wall remodeling. Although both activities require membrane attachment of FtsZ, few membrane anchors have been characterized. FtsA is considered to be the primary membrane tether for FtsZ in bacteria, however in Caulobacter crescentus, FtsA arrives at midcell after stable Z-ring assembly and early FtsZ-directed cell wall synthesis. We hypothesized that additional proteins tether FtsZ to the membrane and demonstrate that in C. crescentus, FzlC is one such membrane anchor. FzlC associates with membranes directly in vivo and in vitro and recruits FtsZ to membranes in vitro. As for most known membrane anchors, the C-terminal peptide of FtsZ is required for its recruitment to membranes by FzlC in vitro and midcell recruitment of FzlC in cells. In vivo, overproduction of FzlC causes cytokinesis defects whereas deletion of fzlC causes synthetic defects with dipM, ftsE and amiC mutants, implicating FzlC in cell wall hydrolysis. Our characterization of FzlC as a novel membrane anchor for FtsZ expands our understanding of FtsZ regulators and establishes a role for membrane-anchored FtsZ in the regulation of cell wall hydrolysis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Caulobacter crescentus / metabolism*
  • Cell Division / physiology
  • Cell Wall / metabolism
  • Cytokinesis / physiology
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / metabolism*
  • GTP Phosphohydrolases / metabolism
  • Hydrolysis
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Protein Binding


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • FtsZ protein, Bacteria
  • Membrane Proteins
  • GTP Phosphohydrolases