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Cell. 2014 Dec 4;159(6):1433-46. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2014.11.022.

A constant size extension drives bacterial cell size homeostasis.

Author information

1
Microbial Sciences Institute, Yale University, West Haven, CT 06516, USA; Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.
2
Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.
3
Microbial Sciences Institute, Yale University, West Haven, CT 06516, USA; Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA; Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.
4
Microbial Sciences Institute, Yale University, West Haven, CT 06516, USA; Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.
5
Microbial Sciences Institute, Yale University, West Haven, CT 06516, USA; Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA; Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA; Department of Microbial Pathogenesis, Yale Medical School, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA. Electronic address: christine.jacobs-wagner@yale.edu.

Abstract

Cell size control is an intrinsic feature of the cell cycle. In bacteria, cell growth and division are thought to be coupled through a cell size threshold. Here, we provide direct experimental evidence disproving the critical size paradigm. Instead, we show through single-cell microscopy and modeling that the evolutionarily distant bacteria Escherichia coli and Caulobacter crescentus achieve cell size homeostasis by growing, on average, the same amount between divisions, irrespective of cell length at birth. This simple mechanism provides a remarkably robust cell size control without the need of being precise, abating size deviations exponentially within a few generations. This size homeostasis mechanism is broadly applicable for symmetric and asymmetric divisions, as well as for different growth rates. Furthermore, our data suggest that constant size extension is implemented at or close to division. Altogether, our findings provide fundamentally distinct governing principles for cell size and cell-cycle control in bacteria.

PMID:
25480302
PMCID:
PMC4258233
DOI:
10.1016/j.cell.2014.11.022
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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