Outer membrane lipoprotein RlpA is a novel periplasmic interaction partner of the cell division protein FtsK in Escherichia coli

Sci Rep. 2018 Aug 28;8(1):12933. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-30979-5.


In Escherichia coli, formation of new cells is mediated by the elongasome and divisome that govern cell elongation and septation, respectively. Proper transition between these events is essential to ensure viable progeny are produced; however, the components of each complex responsible for transmission of the cell signal to shift from elongation to septation are unclear. Recently, a region within the N-terminal domain of the essential divisome protein FtsK (FtsKN) was identified that points to a key role for FtsK as a checkpoint of cell envelope remodeling during division. Here, we used site-specific in vivo UV cross-linking to probe the periplasmic loops of FtsKN for protein interaction partners critical for FtsKN function. Mass spectrometry analysis of five unique FtsKN periplasmic cross-links revealed a network of potential FtsKN interactors, one of which included the septal peptidoglycan binding protein rare lipoprotein A (RlpA). This protein was further verified as a novel interaction partner of FtsKN by an in vitro pull-down assay. Deletion of rlpA from an FtsK temperature-sensitive E. coli strain partially restored cell growth and largely suppressed cellular filamentation compared to the wild-type strain. This suggests that interaction with RlpA may be critical in suppressing septation until proper assembly of the divisome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cell Division / physiology*
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism*
  • Escherichia coli Proteins / genetics
  • Escherichia coli Proteins / metabolism*
  • Gene Knockout Techniques
  • Lipoproteins / genetics
  • Lipoproteins / metabolism*
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Periplasm / genetics
  • Periplasm / metabolism*


  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins
  • Escherichia coli Proteins
  • FtsK protein, E coli
  • Lipoproteins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • RlpA protein, E coli