The Chloroplast Tubulin Homologs FtsZA and FtsZB from the Red Alga Galdieria sulphuraria Co-assemble into Dynamic Filaments.


FtsZ is a homolog of eukaryotic tubulin and is present in almost all bacteria and many archaea, where it is the major cytoskeletal protein in the Z ring, required for cell division. Unlike some other cell organelles of prokaryotic origin, chloroplasts have retained FtsZ as an essential component of the division machinery. However, chloroplast FtsZs have been challenging to study because they are difficult to express and purify. To this end, we have used a FATT-tag expression system to produce as soluble proteins the two chloroplast FtsZs from Galdieria sulphuraria, a thermophilic red alga. GsFtsZA and GsFtsZB assembled individually in the presence of GTP, forming large bundles of protofilaments. GsFtsZA also assembled in the presence of GDP, the first member of the FtsZ/tubulin superfamily to do so. Mixtures of GsFtsZA and GsFtsZB assembled protofilament bundles and hydrolyzed GTP at a rate approximately equal to the sum of their individual rates, suggesting a random co-assembly. GsFtsZA assembly by itself in limiting GTP gave polymers that remained stable for a prolonged time. However, when GsFtsZB was added, the co-polymers disassembled with enhanced kinetics, suggesting that the GsFtsZB regulates and enhances disassembly dynamics. GsFtsZA-mts (where mts is a membrane-targeting amphipathic helix) formed Z ring-like helices when expressed in E. coli. Co-expression of GsFtsZB (without an mts) gave co-assembly of both into similar helices. In summary, we provide biochemical evidence that GsFtsZA assembles as the primary scaffold of the chloroplast Z ring, and that GsFtsZB co-assembly enhances polymer disassembly and dynamics.





Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Chen, Yaodong, Katie Porter, Masaki Osawa, Anne Marie Augustus, Sara L Milam, Chandra Joshi, Katherine W Osteryoung, Harold P Erickson, et al. (2017). The Chloroplast Tubulin Homologs FtsZA and FtsZB from the Red Alga Galdieria sulphuraria Co-assemble into Dynamic Filaments. J Biol Chem. 10.1074/jbc.M116.767715 Retrieved from

This is constructed from limited available data and may be imprecise. To cite this article, please review & use the official citation provided by the journal.



Harold Paul Erickson

James B. Duke Distinguished Professor Emeritus

Recent research has been on cytoskeleton (eukaryotes and bacteria); a skirmish to debunk the irisin story; a reinterpretation of proposed multivalent binders of the coronavirus spike protein. I have also published an ebook on "Principles of Protein-Protein Association" suitable for a course module or individual learning.

Unless otherwise indicated, scholarly articles published by Duke faculty members are made available here with a CC-BY-NC (Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial) license, as enabled by the Duke Open Access Policy. If you wish to use the materials in ways not already permitted under CC-BY-NC, please consult the copyright owner. Other materials are made available here through the author’s grant of a non-exclusive license to make their work openly accessible.