High throughput 3D super-resolution microscopy reveals Caulobacter crescentus in vivo Z-ring organization
We created a high-throughput modality of photoactivated localization microscopy (PALM) that enables automated 3D PALM imaging of hundreds of synchronized bacteria during all stages of the cell cycle. We used high-throughput PALM to investigate the nanoscale organization of the bacterial cell division protein FtsZ in live Caulobacter crescentus. We observed that FtsZ predominantly localizes as a patchy midcell band, and only rarely as a continuous ring, supporting a model of "Z-ring" organization whereby FtsZ protofilaments are randomly distributed within the band and interact only weakly. We found evidence for a previously unidentified period of rapid ring contraction in the final stages of the cell cycle. We also found that DNA damage resulted in production of high-density continuous Z-rings, which may obstruct cytokinesis. Our results provide a detailed quantitative picture of in vivo Z-ring organization.