Research

Scientists from IQFR and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences publish in the journal mBio the structure of FtsE, an essential machinery in the process of bacterial division.

Bacterial cell division is a central process that requires exquisite orchestration of both the cell wall biosynthetic and lytic machineries. The essential membrane complex FtsEX, widely conserved across bacteria, plays a central role by recruiting proteins to the divisome apparatus and by regulating periplasmic muralytic activity from the cytosol. FtsEX is a member of the type VII family of the ABC-superfamily, but instead of being a transporter, it couples the ATP hydrolysis catalyzed by FtsE to mechanically transduce a conformational signal that provokes the activation of peptidoglycan (PG) hydrolases. So far, no structural information was available for FtsE. A team from the IQFR-CSIC and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences has provided the structural characterization of FtsE, confirming its ATPase nature and revealing regions with high structural plasticity which are key for FtsE binding to FtsX. The results, published in the latest issue of the journal mBio, provide evidence on how the difference between the ATP/ADP-bound states in FtsE would dramatically alter the interaction of FtsEX with the PG hydrolase PcsB in pneumococcal division.

Publication:

Structural characterization of the essential cell division protein FtsE and its interaction with FtsX in Streptococcus pneumoniae
Alcorlo, M.; Straume, D.; Lutkenhaus, J.; Håvarstein, L.S. and Hermoso, J.A.
mBio (2020) 11(5) e01488-20 (doi:10.1128/mBio.01488-20)