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J Bacteriol. 1997 Dec;179(24):7625-30.

Nucleoid structure and distribution in thermophilic Archaea.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, Biomedical Center, Uppsala University, Sweden.


Nucleoid structure and distribution in thermophilic organisms from the Archaea domain were studied. Combined phase-contrast and fluorescence microscopy of DAPI (4',6-diamidino-2-phenylindole)-stained Sulfolobus acidocaldarius and Sulfolobus solfataricus cells revealed that the nucleoids were highly structured. Different nucleoid distribution within the cells, representing different partition stages, was observed. The conformation of the nucleoids differed between exponentially growing and stationary-phase cells. Also, the stationary-phase cells contained two chromosomes, and the nucleoids occupied a larger part of the interior of the cells than in the exponentially growing cells. The part of the cell cycle during which fully separated nucleoids could be detected was short. Since the postreplication period is long in these organisms, there was a considerable time interval between termination of chromosome replication and completion of nucleoid separation, similar to the G2 phase in eukaryotic cells. The length of the visible cell constriction period was found to be in the same range as that of eubacteria. Finally, cell-cell connections were observed under certain conditions. Possible eubacterial, eukaryotic, and unique features of nucleoid processing and cell division in thermophilic archaea are discussed.

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