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Perspective ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Microbiol. | doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2019.01717

Does the nucleoid determine cell dimensions in Escherichia coli?

  • 1Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel
  • 2Newcastle University, United Kingdom
  • 3The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, United States
  • 4Shenzhen University, China

Bacillary, Gram-negative bacteria grow by elongation with no discernible change in width, but during faster growth in richer media the cells are also wider. The mechanism regulating the change in cell width W during transitions from slow to fast growth is a fundamental, unanswered question in molecular biology. The value of W that changes in the divisome and during the division process only, is related to the nucleoid complexity, determined by the rates of growth and of chromosome replication; the former manipulated by nutritional conditions and the latter—by thymine limitation of thyA mutants. Such spatio-temporal regulation is supported by existence of a minimal possible distance between successive replisomes, so-called eclipse that limits the number of replisomes to a maximum. Breaching this limit by slowing replication in fast growing cells results in maximal nucleoid complexity that is associated with maximum cell width, supporting the notion of Nucleoid-to-Divisome signal transmission. Physical signal(s) may be delivered from the nucleoid to assemble the divisome and to fix the value of W in the nascent cell pole.

Keywords: cell cycle & dimensions, nucleoid structure & complexity, nutritional shifts, Transertion, eclipse, physical effector

Received: 17 Apr 2019; Accepted: 11 Jul 2019.

Edited by:

Kenneth C. Keiler, Pennsylvania State University, United States

Reviewed by:

Daniel Haeusser, Canisius College, United States
Randy Morgenstein, Oklahoma State University, United States  

Copyright: © 2019 Zaritsky, Vollmer, Männik and Liu. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Arieh Zaritsky, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beersheba, 84105, Southern District, Israel, ariehzar@gmail.com