Control of septin filament flexibility and bundling by subunit composition and nucleotide interactions. Academic Article uri icon


  • Septins self-assemble into heteromeric rods and filaments to act as scaffolds and modulate membrane properties. How cells tune the biophysical properties of septin filaments to control filament flexibility and length, and in turn the size, shape, and position of higher-order septin structures, is not well understood. We examined how rod composition and nucleotide availability influence physical properties of septins such as annealing, fragmentation, bundling, and bending. We found that septin complexes have symmetric termini, even when both Shs1 and Cdc11 are coexpressed. The relative proportion of Cdc11/Shs1 septin complexes controls the biophysical properties of filaments and influences the rate of annealing, fragmentation, and filament flexibility. Additionally, the presence and apparent exchange of guanine nucleotide also alters filament length and bundling. An Shs1 mutant that is predicted to alter nucleotide hydrolysis has altered filament length and dynamics in cells and impacts cell morphogenesis. These data show that modulating filament properties through rod composition and nucleotide binding can control formation of septin assemblies that have distinct physical properties and functions.

publication date

  • March 15, 2018