Structure of Mycobacterium tuberculosis FtsZ reveals unexpected, G protein-like conformational switches

Academic Article


  • We report three crystal structures of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis cell division protein FtsZ, as the citrate, GDP, and GTPγS complexes, determined at 1.89, 2.60, and 2.08 Å resolution. MtbFtsZ crystallized as a tight, laterally oriented dimer distinct from the longitudinal polymer observed for αβ-tubulin. Mutational data on Escherichia coli FtsZ suggest that this dimer interface is important for proper protofilament and "Z-ring" assembly and function. An α-to-β secondary structure conformational switch at the dimer interface is spatially analogous to, and has many of the hallmarks of, the Switch I conformational changes exhibited by G-proteins upon activation. The presence of a γ-phosphate in the FtsZ active site modulates the conformation of the "tubulin" loop T3 (spatially analogous to the G-protein Switch II); T3 switching upon γ-phosphate ligation is directly coupled to the α-to-β switch by steric overlap. The dual conformational switches observed here for the first time in an FtsZ link GTP binding and hydrolysis to FtsZ (and tubulin) lateral assembly and Z-ring contraction, and they are suggestive of an underappreciated functional analogy between FtsZ, tubulin and G-proteins. © 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Leung AKW; Lucile White E; Ross LJ; Reynolds RC; Devito JA; Borhani DW
  • Start Page

  • 953
  • End Page

  • 970
  • Volume

  • 342
  • Issue

  • 3