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Mol Microbiol. 2000 Jun;36(6):1349-59.

FtsZ ring formation without subsequent cell division after replication runout in Escherichia coli.

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Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Biomedical Center, Uppsala University, Sweden.


In this report, we have investigated cell division after inhibition of initiation of chromosome replication in Escherichia coli. In a culture grown to the stationary phase, cells containing more than one chromosome were able to divide some time after restart of growth, under conditions not allowing initiation of chromosome replication. This shows that there is no requirement for cell division to take place within a certain time after initiation of chromosome replication. Continued growth without initiation of replication resulted in filamented cells that generally did not have any constrictions. Interestingly, FtsZ rings were formed in a majority of these cells as they reached a certain cell length. These rings appeared and were maintained for some time at the cell quarter positions on both sides of the centrally localized nucleoid. These results confirm previous findings that cell division sites are formed independently of chromosome replication and indicate that FtsZ ring assembly is dependent on cell size rather than on the capacity of the cell to divide. Disruption of the mukB gene caused a significant increase in the region occupied by DNA after the replication runout, consistent with a role of MukB in chromosome condensation. The aberrant nucleoid structure was accompanied by a shift in FtsZ ring positioning, indicating an effect of the nucleoid on the positioning of the FtsZ ring. A narrow cell length interval was found, under and over which primarily central and non-central FtsZ rings, respectively, were observed. This finding correlates well with the previously observed oscillatory movement of MinC and MinD in short and long cells.

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