Sizing up the bacterial cell cycle

Nat Rev Microbiol. 2017 Oct;15(10):606-620. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro.2017.79. Epub 2017 Aug 14.


It is remarkable how robustly a bacterial species can maintain its preferred size. This capacity is intimately related to control of the cell cycle: cell size and growth rate determine the duration of the cell cycle, which must accommodate the initiation and completion of DNA replication, and the assembly of the division apparatus during steady growth. Although we still lack an integrated view of the interconnections among events in the cell cycle, cell growth and cell size, the development of high-throughput imaging and image-processing protocols has stimulated a renaissance in the field. In this Review, we summarize recent findings, present simple classic models for cell size control, introduce high-throughput data-collection techniques, and explore the mechanisms that coordinate cell size with essential growth and cell cycle processes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / cytology*
  • Bacteria / growth & development*
  • Cell Cycle / physiology*
  • Cell Division / genetics*
  • DNA Replication / genetics*
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics


  • DNA, Bacterial