A Metabolic Sensor Governing Cell Size in Bacteria

Richard B. Weart, Amy H. Lee, An Chun Chien, Daniel P. Haeusser, Norbert S. Hill, Petra Anne Levin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

275 Scopus citations


Nutrient availability is one of the strongest determinants of cell size. When grown in rich media, single-celled organisms such as yeast and bacteria can be up to twice the size of their slow-growing counterparts. The ability to modulate size in a nutrient-dependent manner requires cells to: (1) detect when they have reached the appropriate mass for a given growth rate and (2) transmit this information to the division apparatus. We report the identification of a metabolic sensor that couples nutritional availability to division in Bacillus subtilis. A key component of this sensor is an effector, UgtP, which localizes to the division site in a nutrient-dependent manner and inhibits assembly of the tubulin-like cell division protein FtsZ. This sensor serves to maintain a constant ratio of FtsZ rings to cell length regardless of growth rate and ensures that cells reach the appropriate mass and complete chromosome segregation prior to cytokinesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)335-347
Number of pages13
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 27 2007




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