Topological cues appear to override temporal events in the assembly of the Escherichia coli cell division ring. When a procedure that allows the recruitment of ring components based on their topological properties is used, a concerted mode of assembly of several components of the divisome, rather than a strict linear mode, is revealed. Three multimolecular complexes, the proto-ring, the periplasmic connector and the peptidoglycan factory, show some degree of concertation for their assembly. In addition, back-recruitment of all late proteins except FtsN into the division ring occurs even in the absence of proteins incorporated at earlier stages, i.e. FtsA or FtsQ.