The bacterial replisome: back on track?

Mol Microbiol. 2008 Sep;69(6):1341-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2958.2008.06378.x. Epub 2008 Jul 30.


Summary It has been postulated that bacterial DNA replication occurs via a factory mechanism in which unreplicated DNA is spooled into a centrally located replisome and newly synthesized DNA is discharged towards opposite cell poles. Although there is considerable support for this view, it does not fit with many key observations. I review new findings, and provide alternative interpretations for old findings, which challenge this model. As a whole, current data suggest that the replisome, at least in slowly growing Escherichia coli cells, tracks along a stationary chromosome. These replisomes are not stationary, tethered or restricted in their movement, but rather travel throughout the nucleoid. One possibility is that the replisome navigates along a chromosome made up of looped domains as has been previously envisioned.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chromosomes, Bacterial / metabolism*
  • DNA Replication*
  • DNA, Bacterial / metabolism*
  • Escherichia coli / physiology*
  • Models, Biological


  • DNA, Bacterial