Send to

Choose Destination
FEBS Lett. 2015 Oct 7;589(20 Pt A):2996-3004. doi: 10.1016/j.febslet.2015.07.002. Epub 2015 Jul 11.

From structure to function of bacterial chromosomes: Evolutionary perspectives and ideas for new experiments.

Author information

Laboratory of Computational and Quantitative Biology, UPMC, CNRS UMR 7238, Paris, France.
CIRB-Collège de France, CNRS UMR 7241, INSERM U1050, Paris, France.
Laboratoire Adaptation et Pathogénie des Micro-organismes - UMR 5163, Université Grenoble 1, CNRS, BP 170, F-38042 Grenoble Cedex 9, France; Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), Dr. Aiguader 88, 08003 Barcelona, Spain; Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF), Barcelona, Spain. Electronic address:


The link between chromosome structure and function is a challenging open question because chromosomes in vivo are highly dynamic and arduous to manipulate. Here, we examine several promising approaches to tackle this question specifically in bacteria, by integrating knowledge from different sources. Toward this end, we first provide a brief overview of experimental tools that have provided insights into the description of the bacterial chromosome, including genetic, biochemical and fluorescence microscopy techniques. We then explore the possibility of using comparative genomics to isolate functionally important features of chromosome organization, exploiting the fact that features shared between phylogenetically distant bacterial species reflect functional significance. Finally, we discuss possible future perspectives from the field of experimental evolution. Specifically, we propose novel experiments in which bacteria could be screened and selected on the basis of the structural properties of their chromosomes.


Bacterial chromosomes; Chromosome organization; Comparative genomics; Genome organization; Selection devices; Structure-function relationship

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center