In rod-shaped bacteria, cell morphology is correlated with the replication rate. For a given species, cells that replicate faster are longer and have less cross-linked cell walls. Here, we propose a simple mechanochemical model that explains the dependence of cell length and cross-linking on the replication rate. Our model shows good agreement with existing experimental data and provides further evidence that cell wall synthesis is mediated by multienzyme complexes; however, our results suggest that these synthesis complexes only mediate glycan insertion and cross-link severing, whereas recross-linking is performed independently.
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