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Toro-Nahuelpan, Mauricio; Corrales-Guerrero, Laura; Zwiener, Theresa; Osorio-Valeriano, Manuel; Müller, Frank-Dietrich; Plitzko, Jürgen M.; Bramkamp, Marc; Thanbichler, Martin; Schueler, Dirk (2019): A gradient-forming MipZ protein mediating the control of cell division in the magnetotactic bacterium Magnetospirillum gryphiswaldense. In: Molecular Microbiology, Vol. 112, No. 5: pp. 1423-1439
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Cell division needs to be tightly regulated and closely coordinated with other cellular processes to ensure the generation of fully viable offspring. Here, we investigate division site placement by the cell division regulator MipZ in the alphaproteobacterium Magnetospirillum gryphiswaldense, a species that forms linear chains of magnetosomes to navigate within the geomagnetic field. We show that M. gryphiswaldense contains two MipZ homologs, termed MipZ1 and MipZ2. MipZ2 localizes to the division site, but its absence does not cause any obvious phenotype. MipZ1, by contrast, forms a dynamic bipolar gradient, and its deletion or overproduction cause cell filamentation, suggesting an important role in cell division. The monomeric form of MipZ1 interacts with the chromosome partitioning protein ParB, whereas its ATP-dependent dimeric form shows non-specific DNA-binding activity. Notably, both the dimeric and, to a lesser extent, the monomeric form inhibit FtsZ polymerization in vitro. MipZ1 thus represents a canonical gradient-forming MipZ homolog that critically contributes to the spatiotemporal control of FtsZ ring formation. Collectively, our findings add to the view that the regulatory role of MipZ proteins in cell division is conserved among many alphaproteobacteria. However, their number and biochemical properties may have adapted to the specific needs of the host organism.