The ftsZ gene in E. coli K-12 is an essential cell division gene. We report that a two to sevenfold increase in the level of the FtsZ protein resulted in induction of the minicell phenotype. An increase in the level of FtsZ beyond this range resulted in an inhibition of all cell division. Unlike the classical minicell mutant, the formation of minicells induced by increased levels of FtsZ did not occur at the expense of normal divisions, indicating that increasing FtsZ resulted in additional division events per cell cycle. In addition, increased FtsZ caused cell division to be initiated earlier in the cell cycle. These results are consistent with the level or activity of FtsZ controlling the frequency of cell division in E. coli.