Author(s): Renner LD, Weibel DB
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Abstract Many proteins reside at the cell poles in rod-shaped bacteria. Several hypotheses have drawn a connection between protein localization and the large cell-wall curvature at the poles. One hypothesis has centered on the formation of microdomains of the lipid cardiolipin (CL), its localization to regions of high membrane curvature, and its interaction with membrane-associated proteins. A lack of experimental techniques has left this hypothesis unanswered. This paper describes a microtechnology-based technique for manipulating bacterial membrane curvature and quantitatively measuring its effect on the localization of CL and proteins in cells. We confined Escherichia coli spheroplasts in microchambers with defined shapes that were embossed into a layer of polymer and observed that the shape of the membrane deformed predictably to accommodate the walls of the microchambers. Combining this technique with epifluorescence microscopy and quantitative image analyses, we characterized the localization of CL microdomains in response to E. coli membrane curvature. CL microdomains localized to regions of high intrinsic negative curvature imposed by microchambers. We expressed a chimera of yellow fluorescent protein fused to the N-terminal region of MinD--a spatial determinant of E. coli division plane assembly--in spheroplasts and observed its colocalization with CL to regions of large, negative membrane curvature. Interestingly, the distribution of MinD was similar in spheroplasts derived from a CL synthase knockout strain. These studies demonstrate the curvature dependence of CL in membranes and test whether these structures participate in the localization of MinD to regions of negative curvature in cells.
This article was published in Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A
and referenced in Journal of Glycomics & Lipidomics