The two chromosomes of Vibrio cholerae are initiated at different time points in the cell cycle

EMBO J. 2007 Jul 11;26(13):3124-31. doi: 10.1038/sj.emboj.7601747. Epub 2007 Jun 7.


The bacterium Vibrio cholerae, the cause of the diarrhoeal disease cholera, has its genome divided between two chromosomes, a feature uncommon for bacteria. The two chromosomes are of different sizes and different initiator molecules control their replication independently. Using novel methods for analysing flow cytometry data and marker frequency analysis, we show that the small chromosome II is replicated late in the C period of the cell cycle, where most of chromosome I has been replicated. Owing to the delay in initiation of chromosome II, the two chromosomes terminate replication at approximately the same time and the average number of replication origins per cell is higher for chromosome I than for chromosome II. Analysis of cell-cycle parameters shows that chromosome replication and segregation is exceptionally fast in V. cholerae. The divided genome and delayed replication of chromosome II may reduce the metabolic burden and complexity of chromosome replication by postponing DNA synthesis to the last part of the cell cycle and reducing the need for overlapping replication cycles during rapid proliferation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Cycle*
  • Chromosomes, Bacterial / genetics*
  • Computer Simulation
  • DNA Replication / genetics
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • Genetic Markers
  • Models, Biological
  • Origin Recognition Complex / genetics
  • Transcription, Genetic / genetics
  • Vibrio cholerae / cytology*
  • Vibrio cholerae / genetics*


  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Genetic Markers
  • OriC chromosomal replication origin
  • Origin Recognition Complex