Speed variations of bacterial replisomes

Elife. 2022 Jul 25;11:e75884. doi: 10.7554/eLife.75884.


Replisomes are multi-protein complexes that replicate genomes with remarkable speed and accuracy. Despite their importance, their dynamics is poorly characterized, especially in vivo. In this paper, we present an approach to infer the replisome dynamics from the DNA abundance distribution measured in a growing bacterial population. Our method is sensitive enough to detect subtle variations of the replisome speed along the genome. As an application, we experimentally measured the DNA abundance distribution in Escherichia coli populations growing at different temperatures using deep sequencing. We find that the average replisome speed increases nearly fivefold between 17 °C and 37 °C. Further, we observe wave-like variations of the replisome speed along the genome. These variations correlate with previously observed variations of the mutation rate, suggesting a common dynamical origin. Our approach has the potential to elucidate replication dynamics in E. coli mutants and in other bacterial species.

Keywords: DNA replication; E. coli; physics of living systems; replication completion; replication forks.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chromosomes
  • DNA
  • DNA Replication / genetics
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • Escherichia coli Proteins* / genetics
  • Escherichia coli* / genetics


  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Escherichia coli Proteins
  • DNA

Grants and funding

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.