Localised mutagenesis of the fts YEX operon: conditionally lethal missense substitutions in the FtsE cell division protein of Escherichia coli are similar to those found in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator protein (CFTR) of human patients.
Gibbs TW., Gill DR., Salmond GP.
After localised mutagenesis of the 76 min region of the Escherichia coli chromosome, we isolated a number of conditionally lethal mutants. Some of these mutants had a filamentation temperature sensitive (fts) phenotype and were assigned to the cell division genes ftsE of ftsX, whereas others were defective in the heat shock regulator gene rpoH. Both missense and amber mutant alleles of these genes were produced. The missense mutant ftsE alleles were cloned and sequenced to determine whether or not the respective mutations mapped to the region of the gene encoding the putative nucleotide binding site. Surprisingly, most of these mutant FtsE proteins had missense substitutions in a different domain of the protein. This region of the FtsE protein is highly conserved in a large family of proteins involved in diverse transport processes in all living cells, from bacteria to man. One of the proteins in this large family of homologues is the human cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR), and the FtsE substitutions were found to be in very closely linked, or identical, amino acid residues to those which are frequently altered in the CFTR of human patients. These results confirm the structural importance of this highly conserved region of FtsE and CFTR and add weight to the current structural model for the human protein.