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J Struct Biol. 2006 Nov;156(2):292-303. Epub 2006 Jun 6.

Chromosome organization and segregation in bacteria.

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Department of Developmental Biology, Beckman Center B300, Stanford University School of Medicine, 279 Campus Drive, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.


In the recent years, considerable advances have been made towards understanding the structure and function of the bacterial chromosome. A number of different factors appear to cooperate in condensing DNA into a highly dynamic assembly of supercoiled loops. Despite this variability in the lower levels of chromatin structure, the global arrangement of chromosomal DNA within the cell is surprisingly conserved, with loci being arrayed along the cellular long axis in line with their order on the genomic map. This conserved pattern is propagated during the course of DNA segregation. First, after entry into S-phase, the newly synthesized origin regions are segregated in an active and directed process, involving the bacterial actin homolog MreB. Subsequent DNA segments then follow by different mechanisms. They are separated immediately after release from the replisome and move rapidly to their conserved positions in the incipient daughter cell compartments. Partitioning of the bacterial chromosome thus takes place while DNA replication is in progress.

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