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J Bacteriol. 1986 Jul;167(1):219-30.

Growth kinetics of individual Bacillus subtilis cells and correlation with nucleoid extension.


The growth rate of individual cells of Bacillus subtilis (doubling time, 120 min) has been calculated by using a modification of the Collins-Richmond principle which allows the growth rate of mononucleate, binucleate, and septate cells to be calculated separately. The standard Collins-Richmond equation represents a weighted average of the growth rate calculated from these three major classes. Both approaches strongly suggest that the rate of length extension is exponential. By preparing critical-point-dried cells, in which major features of the cell such as nucleoids and cross-walls can be seen, it has also been possible to examine whether nucleoid extension is coupled to length extension. Growth rates for nucleoid movement are parallel to those of total length extension, except possibly in the case of septate cells. Furthermore, by calculating the growth rate of various portions of the cell surface, it appears likely that the limits of the site of cylindrical envelope assembly lie between the distal tips of the nucleoid; the old poles show zero growth rate. Coupling of nucleoid extension with increase of cell length is envisaged as occurring through an exponentially increasing number of DNA-surface attachment sites occupying most of the available surface.

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