Chromosome replication rate and cell shape in Escherichia coli: Lack of coupling

A. Zaritsky, C. L. Woldringh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


The dimensions of Rep- cells of E. coli K-12 were measured and compared with those of their Rep+ isogenic cells (both Thy-). Rep- cell cultivated identically were longer (but not wider), even though both strains were wider when the rate of chromosome replication was slowed down by lowering the thymine concentration supplied. This eliminates the possibility that cell shape is determined by this rate. Simulating Thy+ phenotype by adding deoxyguanosine resulted in shorter Rep- cells when growth was faster. This excludes a simple relationship between cell elongation and growth rate, but is consistent with a linear proportionality between the rates of surface synthesis and growth. Thymine limitation of fast-growing Thy- E. coli K-12 cells is shown to result in loss of their uniform shape and production of bizarre morphologies, apparently due to imbalanced synthesis of wall components.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)581-587
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Bacteriology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Dec 1978

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology


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