Bacteria require membrane fission for both cell division and endospore formation. In Bacillus subtilis, sporulation initiates with an asymmetric division that generates a large mother cell and a smaller forespore that contains only a quarter of its genome. As the mother cell membranes engulf the forespore, a DNA translocase pumps the rest of the chromosome into the small forespore compartment, inflating it due to increased turgor. When the engulfing membrane undergoes fission, the forespore is released into the mother cell cytoplasm. The B. subtilis protein FisB catalyzes membrane fission during sporulation, but the molecular basis is unclear. Here, we show that forespore inflation and FisB accumulation are both required for an efficient membrane fission. Forespore inflation leads to higher membrane tension in the engulfment membrane than in the mother cell membrane, causing the membrane to flow through the neck connecting the two membrane compartments. Thus, the mother cell supplies some of the membrane required for the growth of the membranes surrounding the forespore. The oligomerization of FisB at the membrane neck slows the equilibration of membrane tension by impeding the membrane flow. This leads to a further increase in the tension of the engulfment membrane, promoting its fission through lysis. Collectively, our data indicate that DNA translocation has a previously unappreciated second function in energizing the FisB-mediated membrane fission under energy-limited conditions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
- General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
- endospore formation
- membrane fission
- membrane tension