Beyond the average: An updated framework for understanding the relationship between cell growth, DNA replication, and division in a bacterial system

Sara Sanders, Kunaal Joshi, Petra Anne Levin, Srividya Iyer-Biswas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Our understanding of the bacterial cell cycle is framed largely by population-based experiments that focus on the behavior of idealized average cells. Most famously, the contributions of Cooper and Helmstetter help to contextualize the phenomenon of overlapping replication cycles observed in rapidly growing bacteria. Despite the undeniable value of these approaches, their necessary reliance on the behavior of idealized average cells masks the stochasticity inherent in single-cell growth and physiology and limits their mechanistic value. To bridge this gap, we propose an updated and agnostic framework, informed by extant single-cell data, that quantitatively accounts for stochastic variations in single-cell dynamics and the impact of medium composition on cell growth and cell cycle progression. In this framework, stochastic timers sensitive to medium composition impact the relationship between cell cycle events, accounting for observed differences in the relationship between cell cycle events in slow- and fast-growing cells. We conclude with a roadmap for potential application of this framework to longstanding open questions in the bacterial cell cycle field.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1010505
JournalPLoS genetics
Volume19
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 5 2023

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