1. Cell Biology
  2. Microbiology and Infectious Disease
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Bacterial Proliferation: Off the wall

  1. Dennis Claessen
  2. Gilles P van Wezel  Is a corresponding author
  1. Leiden University, Netherlands
Cite this article as: eLife 2014;3:e05427 doi: 10.7554/eLife.05427
1 figure


Bacteria divide in different ways depending on whether or not they have a cell wall.

In bacteria with a cell wall (left), a protein called FtsZ must accumulate and form a ring that contracts to divide the cell. However, Mercier et al. found that this process is not required for bacteria without cell walls (L-forms) to divide: instead, the division of such cells is explained by physical principles that follow from the inhibition of peptidoglycan (PG) synthesis and increased cell membrane production.

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