Structure and partitioning of bacterial DNA: determined by a balance of compaction and expansion forces?


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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.