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Dynamic biomolecular condensates formed by liquid-liquid phase separation can regulate the spatial and temporal organization of proteins, thus modulating their functional activity in cells. Previous studies showed that the cell division protein FtsZ from Escherichia coli formed dynamic phase-separated condensates with nucleoprotein complexes containing the FtsZ spatial regulator SlmA under crowding conditions, with potential implications for condensate-mediated spatiotemporal control of FtsZ activity in cell division. In the present study, we assessed formation of these condensates in the presence of lipid surfaces and glutamate ions to better approximate the E. coli intracellular environment. We found that potassium glutamate substantially promoted the formation of FtsZ-containing condensates when compared to potassium chloride in crowded solutions. These condensates accumulated on supported lipid bilayers and eventually fused, resulting in a time-dependent increase in the droplet size. Moreover, the accumulated condensates were dynamic, capturing protein from the external phase. FtsZ partitioned into the condensates at the lipid surface only in its guanosine diphosphate (GDP) form, regardless of whether it came from FtsZ polymer disassembly upon guanosine triphosphate (GTP) exhaustion. These results provide insights into the behavior of these GTP-responsive condensates in minimal membrane systems, which suggest how these membraneless assemblies may tune critical bacterial division events during the cell cycle.


Anions, Biomolecular Condensates, Carrier Proteins, Cell Division, Cytoskeletal Proteins, DNA, Escherichia coli, Escherichia coli Proteins, Glutamic Acid, Guanosine Triphosphate, Lipid Bilayers



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