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Mol Microbiol. 2012 Dec;86(6):1285-90. doi: 10.1111/mmi.12073. Epub 2012 Oct 29.

Let's get 'Fisical' with bacterial nucleoid.

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Centre de Génétique Moléculaire, CGM, CNRS, UPR3404, Université Paris, Sud. 1 Avenue de la terrasse, 91198 Gif sur Yvette, France.


The mechanisms driving bacterial chromosome segregation remain poorly characterized. While a number of factors influencing chromosome segregation have been described in recent years, none of them appeared to play an essential role in the process comparable to the eukaryotic centromere/spindle complex. The research community involved in bacterial chromosome was becoming familiar with the fact that bacteria have selected multiple redundant systems to ensure correct chromosome segregation. Over the past few years a new perspective came out that entropic forces generated by the confinement of the chromosome in the crowded nucleoid shell could be sufficient to segregate the chromosome. The segregating factors would only be required to create adequate conditions for entropy to do its job. In the article by Yazdi et al. (2012) in this issue of Molecular Microbiology, this model was challenged experimentally in live Escherichia coli cells. A Fis-GFP fusion was used to follow nucleoid choreography and analyse it from a polymer physics perspective. Their results suggest strongly that E. coli nucleoids behave as self-adherent polymers. Such a structuring and the specific segregation patterns observed do not support an entropic like segregation model. Are we back to the pre-entropic era?

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