PASTA repeats of the protein kinase StkP interconnect cell constriction and separation of Streptococcus pneumoniae

Nat Microbiol. 2018 Feb;3(2):197-209. doi: 10.1038/s41564-017-0069-3. Epub 2017 Dec 4.


Eukaryotic-like serine/threonine kinases (eSTKs) with extracellular PASTA repeats are key membrane regulators of bacterial cell division. How PASTA repeats govern eSTK activation and function remains elusive. Using evolution- and structural-guided approaches combined with cell imaging, we disentangle the role of each PASTA repeat of the eSTK StkP from Streptococcus pneumoniae. While the three membrane-proximal PASTA repeats behave as interchangeable modules required for the activation of StkP independently of cell wall binding, they also control the septal cell wall thickness. In contrast, the fourth and membrane-distal PASTA repeat directs StkP localization at the division septum and encompasses a specific motif that is critical for final cell separation through interaction with the cell wall hydrolase LytB. We propose a model in which the extracellular four-PASTA domain of StkP plays a dual function in interconnecting the phosphorylation of StkP endogenous targets along with septal cell wall remodelling to allow cell division of the pneumococcus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Cell Division*
  • Cell Wall / metabolism
  • Models, Molecular
  • N-Acetylmuramoyl-L-alanine Amidase
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein Kinases / metabolism*
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae / cytology
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae / metabolism*


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Protein Kinases
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • LytB protein, Streptococcus
  • N-Acetylmuramoyl-L-alanine Amidase