Research Topic

Regulation of Prokaryotic Cell Division

About this Research Topic

Cell division is a fundamental process for all living organisms. Despite billion years of evolution, prokaryotes, including bacteria and archaea, utilize only a few conserved mechanisms to divide. Most walled bacteria rely on the ancestral tubulin homolog FtsZ for cell division, which polymerizes into a ring-like structure (the Z ring) underneath of the cytoplasmic membrane to organize the division apparatus and guides the synthesis of peptidoglycan, an essential component of the cell wall. How the wall-less bacteria divide is not very clear currently. A large part of archaea also used the FtsZ-dependent mechanism for division, while a small subset of archaea, including archaea in the phylum of sulfolobales, use an ancestral ESCRT-III (endosomal sorting complex required for transport III) system for the division. A third cell division system relies on actin-like proteins may have arisen in some archaeal species, but it has largely been unexplored.

The past 30 years have witnessed tremendous advances in understanding the division process of bacteria. However, many mechanistic details remain to be discovered. For example, it is clear now that the Z ring consists of treadmilling patches of FtsZ polymers, but how these patches form and how FtsZ polymers are organized in these patches is still unclear. Genetic and biochemical analysis of bacterial division proteins have uncovered an activation mechanism of the apparatus, but how it happens remain elusive. Successful reconstitutions of the Z ring and PG synthesis in vitro suggest that it is possible to recreate the whole process in the future, but it is still quite a long way to go. On the other hand, the division of archaea has been largely underexplored. No matter for the FtsZ-dependent system or the ESCRT-III-dependent system, most components of the archaeal division machinery has not been identified. Therefore, our understanding of the prokaryotic division process is still pretty premature. There is also a growing interest to understand this process to help develop new antibiotics targeting this essential process.
This research topic aims to bring together studies on different aspects of the prokaryotic division process and how cell division is coordinated with other cell cycle events, as well as methods and tools that can greatly advance these studies. The goal is to provide a broad overview of current research trends in the field, report the latest findings and stimulate discussions about the future directions in prokaryotic cell division. A better understanding of the division process will undoubtedly aid the development of novel antibiotics and therapeutic strategies for the treatment of infectious diseases.

This research topic welcomes submissions in all acceptable formats, including original research, reviews, perspectives, methods and tools that aim to address fundamental questions of bacterial and archaeal cell division, relevant topics of interest include (but are not limited to):

• Regulation of cell division in bacteria
• Regulation of cell division in archaea
• Coordination of cell division with other cell cycle events in bacteria and archaea
• Reconstitution of cell division in vitro
• Structural studies of bacterial and archaeal cell division proteins
• Development of antibiotics targeting the division machinery
• Methods and tools to study bacterial and archaeal cell division
• Bioinformatic analysis of the prokaryotic division systems


Keywords: Bacteria, Archaea, Cell Division, FtsZ, peptidoglycan


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Cell division is a fundamental process for all living organisms. Despite billion years of evolution, prokaryotes, including bacteria and archaea, utilize only a few conserved mechanisms to divide. Most walled bacteria rely on the ancestral tubulin homolog FtsZ for cell division, which polymerizes into a ring-like structure (the Z ring) underneath of the cytoplasmic membrane to organize the division apparatus and guides the synthesis of peptidoglycan, an essential component of the cell wall. How the wall-less bacteria divide is not very clear currently. A large part of archaea also used the FtsZ-dependent mechanism for division, while a small subset of archaea, including archaea in the phylum of sulfolobales, use an ancestral ESCRT-III (endosomal sorting complex required for transport III) system for the division. A third cell division system relies on actin-like proteins may have arisen in some archaeal species, but it has largely been unexplored.

The past 30 years have witnessed tremendous advances in understanding the division process of bacteria. However, many mechanistic details remain to be discovered. For example, it is clear now that the Z ring consists of treadmilling patches of FtsZ polymers, but how these patches form and how FtsZ polymers are organized in these patches is still unclear. Genetic and biochemical analysis of bacterial division proteins have uncovered an activation mechanism of the apparatus, but how it happens remain elusive. Successful reconstitutions of the Z ring and PG synthesis in vitro suggest that it is possible to recreate the whole process in the future, but it is still quite a long way to go. On the other hand, the division of archaea has been largely underexplored. No matter for the FtsZ-dependent system or the ESCRT-III-dependent system, most components of the archaeal division machinery has not been identified. Therefore, our understanding of the prokaryotic division process is still pretty premature. There is also a growing interest to understand this process to help develop new antibiotics targeting this essential process.
This research topic aims to bring together studies on different aspects of the prokaryotic division process and how cell division is coordinated with other cell cycle events, as well as methods and tools that can greatly advance these studies. The goal is to provide a broad overview of current research trends in the field, report the latest findings and stimulate discussions about the future directions in prokaryotic cell division. A better understanding of the division process will undoubtedly aid the development of novel antibiotics and therapeutic strategies for the treatment of infectious diseases.

This research topic welcomes submissions in all acceptable formats, including original research, reviews, perspectives, methods and tools that aim to address fundamental questions of bacterial and archaeal cell division, relevant topics of interest include (but are not limited to):

• Regulation of cell division in bacteria
• Regulation of cell division in archaea
• Coordination of cell division with other cell cycle events in bacteria and archaea
• Reconstitution of cell division in vitro
• Structural studies of bacterial and archaeal cell division proteins
• Development of antibiotics targeting the division machinery
• Methods and tools to study bacterial and archaeal cell division
• Bioinformatic analysis of the prokaryotic division systems


Keywords: Bacteria, Archaea, Cell Division, FtsZ, peptidoglycan


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

31 January 2021 Abstract
31 May 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

31 January 2021 Abstract
31 May 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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