Division site recognition in Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis


  • Editor: Jiri Damborsky

Correspondence: Imrich Barák, Institute of Molecular Biology, Slovak Academy of Sciences, 845 51 Bratislava 45, Slovakia. Tel.: +421 2 5930 7418; fax: +421 2 5930 7416; e-mail: imrich.barak@savba.sk


The process of cell division has been intensively studied at the molecular level for decades but some basic questions remain unanswered. The mechanisms of cell division are probably best characterized in the rod-shaped bacteria Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis. Many of the key players are known, but detailed descriptions of the molecular mechanisms which determine where, how and when cells form the division septum are lacking. Different models have been proposed to account for the high precision with which the septum is constructed at the midcell and these models have been evaluated and refined against new data emerging from the fast improving methodologies of cell biology. This review summarizes important advances in our understanding of how the cell positions the division septum, whether it be vegetative or asymmetric. It also describes how the asymmetric septum forms and how this septation event is linked to chromosome segregation and subsequent asymmetric gene expression during spore formation in B. subtilis.