Coordination of Growth, Chromosome Replication/Segregation, and Cell Division in


Kleckner NE, Chatzi K, White MA, Fisher JK, Stouf M. Coordination of Growth, Chromosome Replication/Segregation, and Cell Division in . Front Microbiol. 2018;9 :1469.

Date Published:



Bacterial cells growing in steady state maintain a 1:1:1 relationship between an appropriate mass increase, a round of DNA replication plus sister chromosome segregation, and cell division. This is accomplished without the cell cycle engine found in eukaryotic cells. We propose here a formal logic, and an accompanying mechanism, for how such coordination could be provided in . Completion of chromosomal and divisome-related events would lead, interactively, to a "progression control complex" (PCC) which provides integrated physical coupling between sister terminus regions and the nascent septum. When a cell has both (i) achieved a sufficient mass increase, and (ii) the PCC has developed, a conformational change in the PCC occurs. This change results in "progression permission," which triggers both onset of cell division and release of terminus regions. Release of the terminus region, in turn, directly enables a next round of replication initiation via physical changes transmitted through the nucleoid. Division and initiation are then implemented, each at its own rate and timing, according to conditions present. Importantly: (i) the limiting step for progression permission may be either completion of the growth requirement or the chromosome/divisome processes required for assembly of the PCC; and, (ii) the outcome of the proposed process is granting of permission to progress, not determination of the absolute or relative timings of downstream events. This basic logic, and the accompanying mechanism, can explain coordination of events in both slow and fast growth conditions; can accommodate diverse variations and perturbations of cellular events; and is compatible with existing mathematical descriptions of the cell cycle. Also, while our proposition is specifically designed to provide 1:1:1 coordination among basic events on a "per-cell cycle" basis, it is a small step to further envision permission progression is also the target of basic growth rate control. In such a case, the rate of mass accumulation (or its equivalent) would determine the length of the interval between successive permission events and, thus, successive cell divisions and successive replication initiations.