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Phenotypic indications of FtsZ inhibition in hok/sok-induced bacterial growth changes and stress response

Chukwudi, C U; Good, L


C U Chukwudi

L Good


The hok/sok locus has been shown to enhance the growth of bacteria in adverse growth conditions such as high temperature, low starting-culture densities and antibiotic treatment. This is in addition to their well-established plasmid-stabilization effect via post-segregational killing of plasmid-free daughter cells. It delays the onset of growth by prolonging the lag phase of bacterial culture, and increases the rate of exponential growth when growth eventually begins. This enables the cells adapt to the prevailing growth conditions and enhance their survival in stressful conditions. These effects functionally complement defective SOS response mechanism, and appear analogous to the growth effects of FtsZ in the SOS pathway. In this study, the role of FtsZ in the hok/sok-induced changes in bacterial growth and cell division was investigated. Morphologic studies of early growth-phase cultures and cells growing under temperature stress showed elongated cells typical of FtsZ inhibition/deficiency. Both ftsZ silencing and over-expression produced comparable growth effects in control cells, and altered the growth changes observed otherwise in the hok/sok+ cells. These changes were diminished in SOS-deficient strain containing mutant FtsZ. The involvement of FtsZ in the hok/sok-induced growth changes may be exploited as drug target in host bacteria, which often propagate antibiotic resistance elements.


Chukwudi, C. U., & Good, L. (2018). Phenotypic indications of FtsZ inhibition in hok/sok-induced bacterial growth changes and stress response. Microbial Pathogenesis, 114, 393-401.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 8, 2017
Publication Date Jan 1, 2018
Deposit Date Dec 12, 2017
Publicly Available Date Dec 1, 2018
Print ISSN 0882-4010
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 114
Pages 393-401
Public URL