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The physiology of bacterial cell division

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Alexander Egan, Professor Waldemar Vollmer


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Bacterial cell division is facilitated by the divisome, a dynamic multiprotein assembly localizing at mid-cell to synthesize the stress-bearing peptidoglycan and to constrict all cell envelope layers. Divisome assembly occurs in two steps and involves multiple interactions between more than 20 essential and accessory cell division proteins. Well before constriction and while the cell is still elongating, the tubulin-like FtsZ and early cell division proteins form a ring-like structure at mid-cell. Cell division starts once certain peptidoglycan enzymes and their activators have moved to the FtsZ-ring. Gram-negative bacteria like Escherichia coli simultaneously synthesize and cleave the septum peptidoglycan during division leading to a constriction. The outer membrane constricts together with the peptidoglycan layer with the help of the transenvelope spanning Tol-Pal system.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Egan AJF, Vollmer W

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences

Year: 2013

Volume: 1277

Issue: Antimicrobial Therapeutics Reviews

Pages: 8-28

Print publication date: 05/12/2012

ISSN (print): 0077-8923

ISSN (electronic): 1749-6632

Publisher: New York Academy of Sciences


DOI: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2012.06818.x


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Funder referenceFunder name
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
BB/I020012/1Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council