Elasticity and biochemistry of growth relate replication rate to cell length and cross-link density in rod-shaped bacteria

Biophys J. 2013 Jun 18;104(12):2607-11. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2013.04.028.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / cytology*
  • Bacteria / metabolism
  • Bacterial Physiological Phenomena
  • Cell Growth Processes*
  • Cell Wall / metabolism
  • DNA Replication*
  • Elasticity
  • Models, Biological*