The physiology of bacterial cell division

Authors

  • Alexander J. F. Egan,

    1. Centre for Bacterial Cell Biology, Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
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  • Waldemar Vollmer

    1. Centre for Bacterial Cell Biology, Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
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Waldemar Vollmer, Centre for Bacterial Cell Biology, Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences, Newcastle University, Richardson Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE2 4AX, UK. w.vollmer@ncl.ac.uk

Abstract

Bacterial cell division is facilitated by the divisome, a dynamic multiprotein assembly localizing at mid-cell to synthesize the stress-bearing peptidoglycan and to constrict all cell envelope layers. Divisome assembly occurs in two steps and involves multiple interactions between more than 20 essential and accessory cell division proteins. Well before constriction and while the cell is still elongating, the tubulin-like FtsZ and early cell division proteins form a ring-like structure at mid-cell. Cell division starts once certain peptidoglycan enzymes and their activators have moved to the FtsZ-ring. Gram-negative bacteria like Escherichia coli simultaneously synthesize and cleave the septum peptidoglycan during division leading to a constriction. The outer membrane constricts together with the peptidoglycan layer with the help of the transenvelope spanning Tol–Pal system.

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