The influence of membrane-free microcompartments resulting from crowding-induced liquid/liquid phase separation (LLPS) on the dynamic spatial organization of FtsZ, the main component of the bacterial division machinery, has been studied using several LLPS systems. The GTP-dependent assembly cycle of FtsZ is thought to be crucial for the formation of the septal ring, which is highly regulated in time and space. We found that FtsZ accumulates in one of the phases and/or at the interface, depending on the system composition and on the oligomerization state of the protein. These results were observed both in bulk LLPS and in lipid-stabilized, phase-separated aqueous microdroplets. The visualization of the droplets revealed that both the location and structural arrangement of FtsZ filaments is determined by the nature of the LLPS. Relocation upon depolymerization of the dynamic filaments suggests the protein may shift among microenvironments in response to changes in its association state. The existence of these dynamic compartments driven by phase transitions can alter the local composition and reactivity of FtsZ during its life cycle acting as a nonspecific modulating factor of cell function.
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