Modes of cytometric bacterial DNA pattern: a tool for pursuing growth


Susann Müller, Department of Environmental Microbiology, UFZ, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, Leipzig-Halle, Permoserstrasse 15, 04318 Leipzig, Germany. Tel.: +49-341-235-2801; Fax: +49-341-235-2247; E-mail:


Abstract.  Analyses of DNA pattern provide an excellent tool to determine activity states of bacteria. Bacterial cell cycle behaviour is generally different from the eukaryotic one and is pre-determined by the bacteria's diversity within the phylogenetic tree, and their metabolic traits. As a result, every species creates its specific proliferation pattern that differs from every other one. Up to now, just few bacterial species have been investigated and little information is available concerning DNA cycling even in already known species. This prevents understanding of the complexity and diversity of ongoing bacterial interactions in many ecosystems or in biotechnology. Flow cytometry is the only possible technique to shed light on the dynamics of bacterial communities and DNA patterns will help to unlock the hidden principles of their life. This review provides basic knowledge about the molecular background of bacterial cell cycling, discusses modes of cell cycle phases and presents techniques to both obtain DNA patterns and to combine the contained information with physiological cell states.