A DNA-binding protein defines the precise region of chromosome capture during Bacillus sporulation. Academic Article uri icon


  • During sporulation, Bacillus subtilis divides around the nucleoid near one cell pole, initially capturing approximately one quarter of one chromosome in the newly formed forespore compartment. While it is known that a specific region of the nucleoid is reproducibly captured in the forespore, the mechanism underlying the precision of capture is unknown. Here we describe a role for RefZ, a DNA-binding protein that regulates FtsZ, and its cognate binding motifs (RBMs) in defining the specific region of chromosome initially captured in the forespore. RefZ is conserved across the Bacillus genus and remains functional as an inhibitor of cell division in a species-swapping experiment. The RBMs are also conserved in their positioning relative to oriC across Bacillus, suggesting that the function of the RBMs is both important and position-dependent in the genus. In B. subtilis, the RBMs flank the region of the chromosome captured at the time of cell division, and we find that RefZ binds the five oriC-proximal RBMs with similar apparent affinity in units of two and four. refZ and RBM mutants capture chromosomal regions normally excluded from the forespore, suggesting that RefZ-RBM complexes play a role in regulating the position of cell division relative to the chromosome during sporulation.

published proceedings

  • Mol Microbiol

altmetric score

  • 0.75

author list (cited authors)

  • Miller, A. K., Brown, E. E., Mercado, B. T., & Herman, J. K.

citation count

  • 11

complete list of authors

  • Miller, Allyssa K||Brown, Emily E||Mercado, Benjamin T||Herman, Jennifer K

publication date

  • January 2016