Efficiency and Robustness of Processes Driven by Nucleoid Exclusion in Escherichia coli

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


The internal spatial organization of prokaryotic organisms, including Escherichia coli, is essential for the proper functioning of processes such as cell division. One source of this organization in E. coli is the nucleoid, which causes the exclusion of macromolecules - e.g. protein aggregates and the chemotaxis network - from midcell. Similarly, following DNA replication, the nucleoid(s) assist in placing the Z-ring at midcell. These processes need to be efficient in optimal conditions and robust to suboptimal conditions. After reviewing recent findings on these topics, we make use of past data to study the efficiency of the spatial constraining of Z-rings, chemotaxis networks, and protein aggregates, as a function of the nucleoid(s) morphology. Also, we compare the robustness of these processes to nonoptimal temperatures. We show that Z-rings, Tsr clusters, and protein aggregates have temperature-dependent spatial distributions along the major cell axis that are consistent with the nucleoid(s) morphology and the volume-exclusion phenomenon. Surprisingly, the consequences of the changes in nucleoid size with temperature are most visible in the kurtosis of these spatial distributions, in that it has a statistically significant linear correlation with the mean nucleoid length and, in the case of Z-rings, with the distance between nucleoids prior to cell division. Interestingly, we also find a negative, statistically significant linear correlation between the efficiency of these processes at the optimal condition and their robustness to suboptimal conditions, suggesting a trade-off between these traits.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPhysical Microbiology
EditorsGuillaume Duménil, Sven van Teeffelen
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-46886-6
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-46885-9
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Publication typeA3 Book chapter

Publication series

NameAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
PublisherSpringer Nature
ISSN (Print)0065-2598
ISSN (Electronic)2214-8019


  • Cell division
  • Chemotaxis
  • Efficiency and robustness
  • Escherichia coli
  • Nucleoid exclusion
  • Optimal and nonoptimal temperatures
  • Protein aggregates

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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