Nano-encapsulated Escherichia coli Divisome Anchor ZipA, and in Complex with FtsZ

Sci Rep. 2019 Dec 10;9(1):18712. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-54999-x.


The E. coli membrane protein ZipA, binds to the tubulin homologue FtsZ, in the early stage of cell division. We isolated ZipA in a Styrene Maleic Acid lipid particle (SMALP) preserving its position and integrity with native E. coli membrane lipids. Direct binding of ZipA to FtsZ is demonstrated, including FtsZ fibre bundles decorated with ZipA. Using Cryo-Electron Microscopy, small-angle X-ray and neutron scattering, we determine the encapsulated-ZipA structure in isolation, and in complex with FtsZ to a resolution of 1.6 nm. Three regions can be identified from the structure which correspond to, SMALP encapsulated membrane and ZipA transmembrane helix, a separate short compact tether, and ZipA globular head which binds FtsZ. The complex extends 12 nm from the membrane in a compact structure, supported by mesoscale modelling techniques, measuring the movement and stiffness of the regions within ZipA provides molecular scale analysis and visualisation of the early divisome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Bacterial Proteins / physiology
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism*
  • Carrier Proteins / physiology
  • Carrier Proteins / ultrastructure
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / physiology
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / ultrastructure
  • Cell Division / physiology*
  • Cryoelectron Microscopy / methods
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / physiology
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism
  • Escherichia coli Proteins / metabolism*
  • Escherichia coli Proteins / physiology
  • Escherichia coli Proteins / ultrastructure
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Protein Binding


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • Escherichia coli Proteins
  • FtsZ protein, Bacteria
  • Membrane Proteins
  • ZipA protein, E coli