SmeA, a small membrane protein with multiple functions in Streptomyces sporulation including targeting of a SpoIIIE/FtsK-like protein to cell division septa
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Sporulation in aerial hyphae of Streptomyces coelicolor involves profound changes in regulation of fundamental morphogenetic and cell cycle processes to convert the filamentous and multinucleoid cells to small unigenomic spores. Here, a novel sporulation locus consisting of smeA (encoding a small putative membrane protein) and sffA (encoding a SpoIIIE/FtsK-family protein) is characterized. Deletion of smeA-sffA gave rise to pleiotropic effects on spore maturation, and influenced the segregation of chromosomes and placement of septa during sporulation. Both smeA and sffA were expressed specifically in apical cells of sporogenic aerial hyphae simultaneously with or slightly after Z-ring assembly. The presence of smeA-like genes in streptomycete chromosomes, plasmids and transposons, often paired with a gene for a SpoIIIE/FtsK- or Tra-like protein, indicates that SmeA and SffA functions might be related to DNA transfer. During spore development SffA accumulated specifically at sporulation septa where it colocalized with FtsK. However, sffA did not show redundancy with ftsK, and SffA function appeared distinct from the DNA translocase activity displayed by FtsK during closure of sporulation septa. The septal localization of SffA was dependent on SmeA, suggesting that SmeA may act as an assembly factor for SffA and possibly other proteins required during spore maturation.
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