Asymmetric division and differential gene expression during a bacterial developmental program requires DivIVA. Academic Article uri icon


  • Sporulation in the bacterium Bacillus subtilis is a developmental program in which a progenitor cell differentiates into two different cell types, the smaller of which eventually becomes a dormant cell called a spore. The process begins with an asymmetric cell division event, followed by the activation of a transcription factor, ?F, specifically in the smaller cell. Here, we show that the structural protein DivIVA localizes to the polar septum during sporulation and is required for asymmetric division and the compartment-specific activation of ?F. Both events are known to require a protein called SpoIIE, which also localizes to the polar septum. We show that DivIVA copurifies with SpoIIE and that DivIVA may anchor SpoIIE briefly to the assembling polar septum before SpoIIE is subsequently released into the forespore membrane and recaptured at the polar septum. Finally, using super-resolution microscopy, we demonstrate that DivIVA and SpoIIE ultimately display a biased localization on the side of the polar septum that faces the smaller compartment in which ?F is activated.

publication date

  • August 2014