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Keywords:

  • DNA supercoiling;
  • Nucleoid structure;
  • Coupled transcription/translation;
  • Protein translocation

Abstract The mechanisms that determine chromosome structure and chromosome partitioning in bacteria are largely unknown. Here we discuss two hypotheses: (i) the structure of the Escherichia coli nucleoid is determined by DNA binding proteins and DNA supercoiling, representing a compaction force on the one hand, and by the coupled transcription/translation/ translocation of plasma membrane and cell wall proteins, representing an expansion force on the other hand; (ii) the two forces are important for the partitioning process of chromosomes.