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J Bacteriol. Jun 1980; 142(3): 869–878.
PMCID: PMC294112

Changes in cell diameter during the division cycle of Escherichia coli.


Extensive measurements of steady-state populations of several Escherichia coli strains have consistently indicated that cell diameter decreases with increasing cell length. This was observed both after electron microscopy of air-dried cells and after phase-contrast microscopy of living cells. The analysis was made by considering separately the unconstricted cells and three classes (slight, medium, and deep) of constricted cells in the population. During slow growth, cells with the average newborn length were up to 8% thicker than unconstricted cells twice as long. This decrease in diameter is less at higher growth rates. Despite the small changes and the large variation of the diameter in any particular length class, significant negative correlations between diameter and length were obtained. Cell diameter increases again at the end of the cell cycle as indicated by an increase of average diameter in the three consecutive classes of constriction.

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Selected References

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