Genomewide phenotypic analysis of growth, cell morphogenesis, and cell cycle events in Escherichia coli

Mol Syst Biol. 2018 Jun 25;14(6):e7573. doi: 10.15252/msb.20177573.


Cell size, cell growth, and cell cycle events are necessarily intertwined to achieve robust bacterial replication. Yet, a comprehensive and integrated view of these fundamental processes is lacking. Here, we describe an image-based quantitative screen of the single-gene knockout collection of Escherichia coli and identify many new genes involved in cell morphogenesis, population growth, nucleoid (bulk chromosome) dynamics, and cell division. Functional analyses, together with high-dimensional classification, unveil new associations of morphological and cell cycle phenotypes with specific functions and pathways. Additionally, correlation analysis across ~4,000 genetic perturbations shows that growth rate is surprisingly not predictive of cell size. Growth rate was also uncorrelated with the relative timings of nucleoid separation and cell constriction. Rather, our analysis identifies scaling relationships between cell size and nucleoid size and between nucleoid size and the relative timings of nucleoid separation and cell division. These connections suggest that the nucleoid links cell morphogenesis to the cell cycle.

Keywords: Keio library; cell shape; cell size; nucleoid separation; nucleoid size.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cell Cycle* / genetics
  • Chromosomes, Bacterial
  • Escherichia coli / cytology
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Escherichia coli / growth & development*
  • Gene Knockout Techniques
  • Genome, Bacterial
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Phenotype