The FtsK Family of DNA Pumps

  • Gaëlle Demarre
  • Elisa Galli
  • François-Xavier BarreEmail author
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 973)


Interest for proteins of the FtsK family initially arose from their implication in many primordial processes in which DNA needs to be transported from one cell compartment to another in eubacteria. In the first section of this chapter, we address a list of the cellular functions of the different members of the FtsK family that have been so far studied. Soon after their discovery, interest for the FstK proteins spread because of their unique biochemical properties: most DNA transport systems rely on the assembly of complex multicomponent machines. In contrast, six FtsK proteins are sufficient to assemble into a fast and powerful DNA pump; the pump transports closed circular double stranded DNA molecules without any covalent-bond breakage nor topological alteration; transport is oriented despite the intrinsic symmetrical nature of the double stranded DNA helix and can occur across cell membranes. The different activities required for the oriented transport of DNA across cell compartments are achieved by three separate modules within the FtsK proteins: a DNA translocation module, an orientation module and an anchoring module. In the second part of this chapter, we review the structural and biochemical properties of these different modules.


Chromosome Segregation Transmembrane Helix Conjugative Plasmid Septum Formation Cell Division Protein 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We would like to acknowledge financial support from the Agence Nationale pour la Recherche [ANR-09-BLAN-0258] and from the European Research Council under the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme [FP7/2007-2013 Grant Agreement no. 281590].


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gaëlle Demarre
    • 1
  • Elisa Galli
    • 1
  • François-Xavier Barre
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Centre de Génétique Moléculaire, CNRSGif sur Yvette, CedexFrance

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