Assembly of the division machinery in Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria occurs in two time-dependent steps. First, the FtsZ proto-ring localizes at midcell including some FtsN molecules. Subsequently, the proteins that catalyze and regulate septal peptidoglycan (PG) synthesis are recruited including among others, the FtsBLQ-PB1B-FtsW-PBP3 complex. Further accumulation of FtsN finally allows initiation of cell division. It was known that FtsA and FtsQLB somehow prevented this initiation. Recently, A. Boes, S. Olatunji, E. Breukink, and M. Terrak (mBio 10:e01912-18, 2019, https://doi.org/10.1128/mBio.01912-18) reported that this is caused by inhibition of the activity of the PG synthases by FtsBLQ, which has to be outcompeted by accumulation of the PBP1b activating FtsN. This supports a central structural as well as regulatory role for the FtsBLQ protein complex that is conserved only in prokaryotes, making it an attractive target for antibiotic development.
- Cell division
- Escherichia coli