We have studied the role of this morphogen in the human pathogen Listeria monocytogenes and our results suggest a novel mechanism by which DivIVA contributes to cell division.
Contrary to expectation a ΔdivIVA mutant exhibited a pronounced chaining phenotype rather than a defect in cell division which we attributed to reduced extracellular levels of the autolytic enzymes p60 and MurA. We demonstrate that this is due to a malfunction in secretion of these autolysins and phenotypic comparison of the ΔdivIVA strain with a ΔsecA2 mutant suggests that DivIVA influences the activity of the SecA2 secretion route in L. monocytogenes.
Also from the phenotypic analysis it was clear that divIVA affected swarming motility, biofilm formation, invasiveness and cell-to-cell spread in cell culture infection models. Thus, our experiments show that DivIVA is an important factor for various listerial traits that are essential for the pathogenicity of this organism.