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Cosegregation of cell wall and DNA in Bacillus subtilis.

By J M Schlaeppi and D Karamata


Cosegregation of cell wall and DNA of a lysis-negative mutant of Bacillus subtilis was examined by continuously labeling (i) cell wall, (ii) DNA, and (iii) both cell wall and DNA. After four to five generations of chase in liquid media it was found by light microscope autoradiography that the numbers of wall segregation units per cell are 29 and 9 in rich and minimal medium, respectively. Under the same conditions the numbers of segregation units of DNA were almost 50% lower: 15 and 5, respectively. Simultaneous labeling of cell wall and DNA (iii) provided figures almost identical to those obtained for cell wall alone, (i), implying cosegregation of the two components. Statistical analysis ruled out their random distribution into daughter cells. Measurements of the positions of grain clusters at the end of the chase period along chains of cells, each derived from a single cell at the beginning of chase, show that cell wall units are localized according to a symmetrical pattern, whereas those of DNA are distributed in an asymmetrical but highly regular way. It appears that of two cell wall units of the same age one only has a strand of DNA attached to it. We present a simple diagrammatic model of cell wall organization and DNA-cell wall association which is compatible with our observations. Finally, we discuss previous experiments pertinent to cosegregation of cell wall and DNA obtained with cells grown on solid media as well as with germinating spores; an explanation for the independent segregation of cell wall and DNA observed in the latter case is advanced

Topics: Research Article
Year: 1982
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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