Lessons from bacterial homolog of tubulin, FtsZ for microtubule dynamics

    1. Dulal Panda
    1. Department of Biosciences and Bioengineering, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Mumbai, India
    1. Correspondence should be addressed to D Panda; Email: panda{at}iitb.ac.in


    FtsZ, a homolog of tubulin, is found in almost all bacteria and archaea where it has a primary role in cytokinesis. Evidence for structural homology between FtsZ and tubulin came from their crystal structures and identification of the GTP box. Tubulin and FtsZ constitute a distinct family of GTPases and show striking similarities in many of their polymerization properties. The differences between them, more so, the complexities of microtubule dynamic behavior in comparison to that of FtsZ, indicate that the evolution to tubulin is attributable to the incorporation of the complex functionalities in higher organisms. FtsZ and microtubules function as polymers in cell division but their roles differ in the division process. The structural and partial functional homology has made the study of their dynamic properties more interesting. In this review, we focus on the application of the information derived from studies on FtsZ dynamics to study microtubule dynamics and vice versa. The structural and functional aspects that led to the establishment of the homology between the two proteins are explained to emphasize the network of FtsZ and microtubule studies and how they are connected.

    • Received 5 June 2017
    • Accepted 19 June 2017
    • Made available online as an Accepted Preprint 20 June 2017
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