Redefining the roles of the FtsZ-ring in bacterial cytokinesis

Curr Opin Microbiol. 2016 Dec;34:90-96. doi: 10.1016/j.mib.2016.08.008. Epub 2016 Sep 10.


In most bacteria, cell division relies on the functions of an essential protein, FtsZ. FtsZ polymerizes at the future division site to form a ring-like structure, termed the Z-ring, that serves as a scaffold to recruit all other division proteins, and possibly generates force to constrict the cell. The scaffolding function of the Z-ring is well established, but the force generating function has recently been called into question. Additionally, new findings have demonstrated that the Z-ring is more directly linked to cell wall metabolism than simply recruiting enzymes to the division site. Here we review these advances and suggest that rather than generating a rate-limiting constrictive force, the Z-ring's function may be redefined as an orchestrator of septum synthesis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / metabolism
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cell Wall / metabolism
  • Cytokinesis*
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / metabolism*
  • Escherichia coli / physiology
  • Peptidoglycan / metabolism


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • FtsZ protein, Bacteria
  • Peptidoglycan