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Phys Rev Lett. 2001 Dec 31;87(27 Pt 1):278102. Epub 2001 Dec 10.

Dynamic compartmentalization of bacteria: accurate division in E. coli.

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  • 1Department of Physics, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia V5A 1S6, Canada.


Positioning of the midcell division plane within the bacterium E. coli is controlled by the min system of proteins: MinC, MinD, and MinE. These proteins coherently oscillate from end to end of the bacterium. We present a reaction-diffusion model describing the diffusion of min proteins along the bacterium and their transfer between the cytoplasmic membrane and cytoplasm. Our model spontaneously generates protein oscillations in good agreement with experiments. We explore the oscillation stability, frequency, and wavelength as a function of protein concentration and bacterial length.

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