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Phys Rev Lett. 2008 Oct 24;101(17):178101. Epub 2008 Oct 20.

Origin of contractile force during cell division of bacteria.

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Physics Department, Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay, Powai, Mumbai, India.


When a bacterium divides, its cell wall at the division site grows radially inward like the shutter of a camera and guillotines the cell into two halves. The wall is pulled upon from inside by a polymeric ring, which itself shrinks in radius. The ring is made of an intracellular protein FtsZ (filamenting temperature sensitive Z) and thus is called the Z ring. It is not understood how the Z ring generates the required contractile force. We propose a theoretical model and simulate it to show how the natural curvature of the FtsZ filaments and lateral attraction among them may facilitate force generation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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