Spatial Arrangement and Macrodomain Organization of Bacterial Chromosomes

Mol Microbiol. 2005 Jul;57(1):9-16. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2958.2005.04651.x.


Recent developments in fluorescence microscopy have shown that bacterial chromosomes have a defined spatial arrangement that preserves the linear order of genes on the genetic map. These approaches also revealed that large portions of the chromosome in Escherichia coli or Bacillus subtilis are concentrated in the same cellular space, suggesting an organization as large regions defined as macrodomains. In E. coli, two macrodomains of 1 Mb containing the replication origin (Ori) and the replication terminus (Ter) have been shown to relocalize at specific steps of the cell cycle. A genetic analysis of the collision probability between distant DNA sites in E. coli has confirmed the presence of macrodomains by revealing the existence of large regions that do not collide with each other. Two macrodomains defined by the genetic approach coincide with the Ori and Ter macrodomains, and two new macrodomains flanking the Ter macrodomain have been identified. Altogether, these results indicate that the E. coli chromosome has a ring organization with four structured and two less-structured regions. Implications for chromosome dynamics during the cell cycle and future prospects for the characterization and understanding of macrodomain organization are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Cycle / genetics
  • Chromosomes, Bacterial / chemistry*
  • Chromosomes, Bacterial / genetics*
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Gene Order*
  • Genetic Techniques
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • Replication Origin