Nuclear and cell division in Bacillus subtilis: cell development from spore germination

W. V. Iterson, J. A. Aten

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The changes in the morphology of the nucleoids and the mesosomes in Bacillus subtilis cells during synchronous outgrowth after spore germination were followed in large-scale three-dimensional cell reconstructions. Shortly after outgrowth of the cell begins in Spizizen medium with glucose, the mesosome becomes an elongated structure in close contact with a rounded nucleoid. When nuclear replication reaches full activity, the mesosome develops into a single, complicated versatile system, with tubules that traverse the cytoplasm and have elaborations in and near the nucleoplasm. Later the system may retract to form large rounded mesosomes; the tubules and strings of vesicles within these mesosomes probably have been collected from the cytoplasm. Shortly after the first cell division, both sister cells have two nucleoids, but with longer generation times induced by growth in media containing acetate instead of glucose; these sister cells have only one nucleoid each. In acetate-grown cells rounded nucleoids that have no contact with a mesosome may represent nucleoids in a temporary stage of rest. On the other hand, the nucleoids of cells growing in glucose-containing medium are always penetrated by mesosomal material, superficially or deeply. Since the mesosome appears capable of traversing the nuclear fibrils, and even reaching the last strands connecting the dividing nucleoids, it is suggested that this organelle may play a vital role in the Bacillus division cycle
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)384-399
JournalJournal of bacteriology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1976

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