Publication Date


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Academic Program

Immunology and Microbiology


Microbiology and Physiological Systems

First Thesis Advisor

Christopher Sassetti


Mycobacteria, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Mycobacterium smegmatis, cell division, bacterial cell division, divisome, FtsK


Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) is one of the most virulent and prevalent bacterial pathogens across the world. As Mtb infects millions of people a year, it remains essential to study its physiology with the goal of developing new therapeutic interventions. A critical part of the bacteria’s ability to propagate is through successful cell division. Although the process of bacterial cell division and the key proteins therein are well understood in Escherichia coli, much remains to be understood about division in mycobacteria. Genetic and cell biological approaches have recently begun to identify key divisome components in Mycobacterium smegmatis. However, questions remain regarding the role and function of one divisome protein in particular, the DNA translocase FtsK. In this dissertation, I investigated the necessity of FtsK for the growth of mycobacteria. Using an inducible knockdown of FtsK, I present evidence that complete loss of FtsK is required to inhibit growth in both Mtb and M. smegmatis, and that these orthologs share a homologous function. Additional work suggests extended loss of FtsK may be lethal to bacteria. These observations support that FtsK is an essential member of the divisome in mycobacteria, facilitating the processes of growth and division.



Rights and Permissions

Copyright is held by the author, with all rights reserved.

Available for download on Tuesday, August 30, 2022