To distinguish between a gradual or an abrupt movement of the Escherichia coli nucleoid during partitioning we determined the distances between nucleoid borders and cell poles. Measurements were performed on fixed but hydrated cells and on living cells growing in steady state. The distance between nucleoid outer border and cell pole remained constant in cells with either one or two nucleoids. Thus the nucleoid outer borders moved gradually during the partition process. To study partitioning during recovery from protein-synthesis inhibition cells were treated with chloramphenicol. After growth resumption, cells and nucleoids first elongated before partitioning occurred. Again, no indication of a rapid displacement of the nucleoid to one-quarter and three-quarter positions in the cell was observed.
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