Localization of the key cell division determinant FtsZ in Francisella tularensis.


  • Stuart Cantlay West Liberty University
  • Joseph Horzempa West Liberty University




Francisella tularensis, the causative agent of tularemia, is a highly infectious gram-negative bacterium capable of replicating within macrophages, leukocytes, dendritic cells and epithelial cells.  In addition, F. tularensis also invades erythrocytes.

    FtsZ, a homologue of eukaryotic tubulin, is an essential cell division protein in almost all bacteria. Polymerization of FtsZ into a contractile ring is a critical first step in division and the FtsZ ring acts in recruiting the cell wall synthesis machinery to the nascent septum. 

   We have generated a recombinant fusion of ftsZftto emgfp (Emerald Green Fluorescent Protein) which can be expressed, in trans, under its presumed native promotor or a strong Francisella promoter (pGRP).       As expected, FtsZft-Emgfp can be seen localizing as rings in F. tularensis.

   Our aim is to utilize fluorescently tagged FtsZ to investigate replication of F. tularensis in a range of in vitro host cell invasion assays and as a marker for viability to study the morphological and physiological differentiation of F. tularensis as it transitions into a viable but non-culturable (VBNC) state.  (This research was made possible by NASA West Virginia Space Grant Consortium Training Grant #NNX15A101H and by NIH Grant P20GM103434 to the West Virginia IDeA Network for Biomedical Research Excellence).

Author Biographies

Stuart Cantlay, West Liberty University

Department of Natural Sciences and MathemaTICS

Assistant Professor of Biology

Joseph Horzempa, West Liberty University

Department of Natural Science and Mathematics

Associate Professor of Biology




How to Cite

Cantlay, S., & Horzempa, J. (2019). Localization of the key cell division determinant FtsZ in Francisella tularensis. Proceedings of the West Virginia Academy of Science, 91(1). https://doi.org/10.55632/pwvas.v91i1.546



Meeting Abstracts-Poster