Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
In the life cycle of a bacterium there are several key processes: cellular growth, chromosome replication and decatenation, nucleoid partition, septum formation, and cell division. These processes have to be carefully controlled and co-ordinated both with respect to each other and to the growth of the cell, and could be viewed as parts of a single cycle in which each step is dependent upon the previous one. Alternatively, they could be independently controlled and carefully tuned to each other without actually constituting a true cycle. In this review, using Escherichia coli as model system, we discuss these two ways of describing the bacterial life cycle. The evidence supporting independent control of the processes is presented, and some of the key questions in the elucidation of the regulation of the bacterial life cycle are discussed.
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