The ParA and ParB family proteins are required for accurate partitioning of replicated chromosomes. The Mycobacterium tuberculosis genome contains parB, parA and two parA homologs, Rv1708 and Rv3213c. It is unknown if parA and its homologs are functionally related. To understand the roles of ParA and ParB proteins in M. tuberculosis cell cycle, we have evaluated the consequences of their overproduction and visualized their localization patterns in M. smegmatis. We show that cells overproducing of ParA, Rv1708 and Rv3213c and ParB are filamentous and multinucleoidal indicating defects in cell cycle progression. Visualization of green-fluorescent protein fusions of ParA and its homologues showed similar localization patterns with foci at poles, quarter-cell, midcell positions and spiral-like structures indicating that they are functionally related. On the other hand, the ParBGFP fusion protein localized only to the cell poles. The cyan and yellow fluorescent fusion proteins of ParA and ParB, respectively, colocalized at the cell poles indicating that these proteins interact and possibly associate with the chromosomal origin of replication. Collectively our results suggest that the M. tuberculosis Par proteins play important roles in cell cycle progression.
Keywords: Partitioning, segregation, nucleoid, septum, cell division