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Microbiology. 2001 Mar;147(Pt 3):519-526. doi: 10.1099/00221287-147-3-519.

Bacterial chromosome segregation.

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School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia1.


Recent years have witnessed a resurgence of interest in how the bacterial chromosome is organized and how newly replicated chromosomes are faithfully segregated into daughter cells on cell division. In the past, the problem with studying bacterial chromosomes was their lack of any obvious morphology, combined with the lack of ability to readily separate DNA replication and segregation functions into distinct stages like those observed in eukaryotic cells. This was due to the overlapping nature of these events in most bacterial systems used in the laboratory. The situation has now changed as new tools have become available that enable chromosomes and specific chromosomal sites to be labelled and monitored throughout the cell cycle, and this has led to rapid progress and the discovery of many unexpected results. Historically, chromosome segregation was thought to be achieved through passive processes where chromosomes were separated through some kind of membrane/cell wall attachment and were moved apart as the cell grew (Jacob et al., 1963). We now know that this is not the case and that there are specific mechanisms to actively partition chromosomes. This review will focus principally on the Gram-positive sporulating bacterium Bacillus subtilis, but will also cover work carried out on Escherichia coli, in which valuable information has been obtained, and will cover the events that occur on termination of chromosome replication, chromosome decatenation and chromosome separation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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