Analysis of recently published high-throughput measurements of wild-type Escherichia coli cells growing at a wide range of rates demonstrates that cell width W, which is constant at any particular growth rate, is related (with a CV = 2.4%) to the level of nucleoid complexity, expressed as the amount of DNA in genome equivalents that is associated with chromosome terminus (G/terC). The relatively constant (CV = 7.3%) aspect ratio of newborn cells (Lb/W) in populations growing at different rates indicates existence of cell-shape homeostasis. Enlarged W of thymine-limited thyA mutants growing at identical rates support the hypothesis that nucleoid complexity actively affects W. Nucleoid dynamics is proposed to transmit a primary signal to the peptidoglycan-synthesizing system through the transertion mechanism, i.e., coupled transcription/translation of genes encoding membrane proteins and inserting these proteins into the membrane.
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