Send to

Choose Destination
Methods. 2009 May;48(1):8-13. doi: 10.1016/j.ymeth.2009.02.010. Epub 2009 Feb 24.

Cell cycle synchronization of Escherichia coli using the stringent response, with fluorescence labeling assays for DNA content and replication.

Author information

Department of Biology and Rosenstiel Basic Medical Sciences Research Center, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA 02454-9110, USA.


We describe a method for synchronization of the cell cycle in the bacterium Escherichia coli. Treatment of asynchronous cultures with the amino acid analog, dl-serine hydroxamate, induces the stringent response, with concomitant arrest of DNA replication at initiation. Following release of the stringent response, cells initiate DNA replication in synchrony, as determined by flow cytometry for DNA content, Southern blotting and microscopy. This method has the advantage that it can be used in fully wild-type cells, at different growth rates, and may be applicable to other bacterial species with replication control by the stringent response. We also elaborate other methods useful for establishing cell cycle parameters in bacterial populations. We describe flow cytometric methods for analyzing bacterial populations for DNA content using the DNA-specific dye PicoGreen, readily detected by most commercial flow cytometers. We also present an method for incorporation of the nucleotide ethynyl-deoxyuridine, EdU, followed by "click" labeling with fluorescent dyes, which allows us to measure and visualize newly replicated DNA in fixed E. coli K-12 cells under non-denaturing conditions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center