FtsZ is the key protein of bacterial cell-division and target for new antibiotics. Selective inhibition of FtsZ polymerization without impairing the assembly of the eukaryotic homologue tubulin was demonstrated with C8-substituted guanine nucleotides. By combining NMR techniques with biochemical and molecular modeling procedures, we have investigated the molecular recognition of C8-substituted-nucleotides by FtsZ from Methanococcus jannaschii (Mj-FtsZ) and Bacillus subtilis (Bs-FtsZ). STD epitope mapping and trNOESY bioactive conformation analysis of each nucleotide were employed to deduce differences in their recognition mode by each FtsZ species. GMP binds in the same anti conformation as GTP, whereas 8-pyrrolidino-GMP binds in the syn conformation. However, the anti conformation of 8-morpholino-GMP is selected by Bs-FtsZ, while Mj-FtsZ binds both anti- and syn-geometries. The inhibitory potencies of the C8-modified-nucleotides on the assembly of Bs-FtsZ, but not of Mj-FtsZ, correlate with their binding affinities. Thus, MorphGTP behaves as a nonhydrolyzable analog whose binding induces formation of Mj-FtsZ curved filaments, resembling polymers formed by the inactive forms of this protein. NMR data, combined with molecular modeling protocols, permit explanation of the mechanism of FtsZ assembly impairment by C8-substituted GTP analogs. The presence of the C8-substituent induces electrostatic remodeling and small structural displacements at the association interface between FtsZ monomers to form filaments, leading to complete assembly inhibition or to formation of abnormal FtsZ polymers. The inhibition of bacterial Bs-FtsZ assembly may be simply explained by steric clashes of the C8-GTP-analogs with the incoming FtsZ monomer. This information may facilitate the design of antibacterial FtsZ inhibitors replacing GTP.