Getting into shape: How do rod-like bacteria control their geometry?


Amir A, van Teeffelen S. Getting into shape: How do rod-like bacteria control their geometry?. Syst Synth Biol. 2014;8 (3) :227-35.

Date Published:

2014 Sep


Rod-like bacteria maintain their cylindrical shapes with remarkable precision during growth. However, they are also capable to adapt their shapes to external forces and constraints, for example by growing into narrow or curved confinements. Despite being one of the simplest morphologies, we are still far from a full understanding of how shape is robustly regulated, and how bacteria obtain their near-perfect cylindrical shapes with excellent precision. However, recent experimental and theoretical findings suggest that cell-wall geometry and mechanical stress play important roles in regulating cell shape in rod-like bacteria. We review our current understanding of the cell wall architecture and the growth dynamics, and discuss possible candidates for regulatory cues of shape regulation in the absence or presence of external constraints. Finally, we suggest further future experimental and theoretical directions which may help to shed light on this fundamental problem.