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Structure, function and controls in microbial division

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Summary

Several crucial genes required for bacterial division lie close together in a region called the dcw cluster. Within the cluster, gene expression is subject to complex transcriptional regulation, which serves to adjust the cell cycle in response to growth rate. The pivotally important FtsZ protein, which is needed to initiate division, is now known to interact with many other components of the division machinery in Escherichia coli.Some biochemical properties of FtsZ, and of another division protein called FtsA, suggest that they are similar to the eukaryotic proteins tubulin and actin respectively. Cell division needs to be closely co-ordinated with chromosome partitioning. The mechanism of partitioning is poorly understood, though several genes involved in this process, including several muk genes, have been identified. The min genes may participate in both septum positioning and chromosome partitioning. Coupled transcription and translation of membrane-associated proteins might also be important for partitioning. In the event of a failure in the normal partitioning process, Bacillus subtilis, at least, has a mechanism for removing a bisected nucleoid from the division septum.

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