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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Defective plasmid partition in ftsH mutants of Escherichia coli.

FtsH is an ATP-dependent protease that is essential for cell viability in Escherichia coli. The essential function of FtsH is to maintain the proper balance of biosynthesis of major membrane components, lipopolysaccharide and phospholipids. F plasmid uses a partitioning system and is localized at specific cell positions, which may be related to the cell envelope, to ensure accurate partitioning. We have examined the effects of ftsH mutations on the maintenance of a mini-F plasmid, and have found that temperature-sensitive ftsH mutants are defective in mini-F plasmid partition, but not replication, at permissive temperature for cell growth. A significant fraction of replicated plasmid molecules tend to localize close together on one side of the cell, which may result in failure to pass the plasmid to one of the two daughter cells upon cell division. By contrast, an ftsH null mutant carrying the suppressor mutation sfhC did not affect partitioning of the plasmid. The sfhC mutation also suppressed defective maintenance in temperature-sensitive ftsH mutants. Using this new phenotype caused by ftsH mutations, we also isolated a new temperature-sensitive ftsH mutant. Mutations in ftsH cause an increase in the lipopolysaccharide/ phospholipid ratio due to stabilization of the lpxC gene product, which is involved in lipopolysaccharide synthesis and is a substrate for proteolysis by the FtsH protease. It is likely that altered membrane structure affects the localization or activity of a putative plasmid partitioning apparatus located at positions equivalent to 1/4 and 3/4 of the cell length.[1]


  1. Defective plasmid partition in ftsH mutants of Escherichia coli. Inagawa, T., Kato, J., Niki, H., Karata, K., Ogura, T. Mol. Genet. Genomics (2001) [Pubmed]
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