Division site positioning in bacteria: One size does not fit all

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Frontiers in Microbiology, 2014, 5 (FEB)
Issue Date:
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Spatial regulation of cell division in bacteria has been a focus of research for decades. It has been well studied in two model rod-shaped organisms, Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis, with the general belief that division site positioning occurs as a result of the combination of two negative regulatory systems, Min and nucleoid occlusion. These systems influence division by preventing the cytokinetic Z ring from forming anywhere other than midcell. However, evidence is accumulating for the existence of additional mechanisms that are involved in controlling Z ring positioning both in these organisms and in several other bacteria. In some cases the decision of where to divide is solved by variations on a common evolutionary theme, and in others completely different proteins and mechanisms are involved. Here we review the different ways bacteria solve the problem of finding the right place to divide. It appears that a one-size-fits-all model does not apply, and that individual species have adapted a division-site positioning mechanism that best suits their lifestyle, environmental niche and mode of growth to ensure equal partitioning of DNA for survival of the next generation. © 2014 Monahan, Liew, Bottomley and Harry.
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