Spatiotemporal Models of the Asymmetric Division Cycle of Caulobacter crescentus

Results Probl Cell Differ. 2017;61:23-48. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-53150-2_2.


The spatial localization of proteins within the cytoplasm of bacteria is an underappreciated but critical aspect of cell cycle regulation for many prokaryotes. In Caulobacter crescentus-a model organism for the study of asymmetric cell reproduction in prokaryotes-heterogeneous localization of proteins has been identified as the underlying cause of asymmetry in cell morphology, DNA replication, and cell division. However, significant questions remain. Firstly, the mechanisms by which proteins localize in the organelle-free prokaryotic cytoplasm remain obscure. Furthermore, how variations in the spatial and temporal dynamics of cell fate determinants regulate signaling pathways and orchestrate the complex programs of asymmetric cell division and differentiation are subjects of ongoing research. In this chapter, we review current efforts in investigating these two questions. We describe how mathematical models of spatiotemporal protein dynamics are being used to generate and test competing hypotheses and provide complementary insight about the control mechanisms that regulate asymmetry in protein localization and cell division.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Asymmetric Cell Division / physiology*
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Caulobacter crescentus / physiology*
  • Models, Biological
  • Models, Theoretical*


  • Bacterial Proteins