Subcellular Dynamics of a Conserved Bacterial Polar Scaffold Protein

In order to survive, bacterial cells rely on precise spatiotemporal organization and coordination of essential processes such as cell growth, chromosome segregation, and cell division. Given the general lack of organelles, most bacteria are forced to depend on alternative localization mechanisms, such as, for example, geometrical cues. DivIVA proteins are widely distributed in mainly Gram-positive bacteria and were shown to bind the membrane, typically in regions of strong negative curvature, such as the cell poles and division septa. Here, they have been shown to be involved in a multitude of processes: from apical cell growth and chromosome segregation in actinobacteria to sporulation and inhibition of division re-initiation in firmicutes. Structural analyses revealed that DivIVA proteins can form oligomeric assemblies that constitute a scaffold for recruitment of other proteins. However, it remained unclear whether interaction with partner proteins influences DivIVA dynamics. Using structured illumination microscopy (SIM), single-particle tracking (SPT) microscopy, and fluorescent recovery after photobleaching (FRAP) experiments, we show that DivIVA from Corynebacterium glutamicum is mobilized by its binding partner ParB. In contrast, we show that the interaction between Bacillus subtilis DivIVA and its partner protein MinJ reduces DivIVA mobility. Furthermore, we show that the loss of the rod-shape leads to an increase in DivIVA dynamics in both organisms. Taken together, our study reveals the modulation of the polar scaffold protein by protein interactors and cell morphology. We reason that this leads to a very simple, yet robust way for actinobacteria to maintain polar growth and their rod-shape. In B. subtilis, however, the DivIVA protein is tailored towards a more dynamic function that allows quick relocalization from poles to septa upon division.


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