Cell growth and cell division in the rod-shaped actinomycete Corynebacterium glutamicum


Bacterial cell growth and cell division are highly complicated and diversified biological processes. In most rod-shaped bacteria, actin-like MreB homologues produce helicoidal structures along the cell that support elongation of the lateral cell wall. An exception to this rule is peptidoglycan synthesis in the rod-shaped actinomycete Corynebacterium glutamicum, which is MreB-independent. Instead, during cell elongation this bacterium synthesizes new cell-wall material at the cell poles whereas the lateral wall remains inert. Thus, the strategy employed by C. glutamicum to acquire a rod-shaped morphology is completely different from that of Escherichia coli or Bacillus subtilis. Cell division in C. glutamicum also differs profoundly by the apparent absence in its genome of homologues of spatial or temporal regulators of cell division, and its cell division apparatus seems to be simpler than those of other bacteria. Here we review recent advances in our knowledge of the C. glutamicum cell cycle in order to further understand this very different model of rod-shape acquisition.

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M. Letek and M. Fiuza were beneficiaries of fellowships from the Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia (Spain); E. Ordóñez and A. Villadangos from the Junta de Castilla y León, and A. Ramos from the ALFA project II-0313-FA-FCB. This work was funded by grants from the Junta de Castilla y León (Ref. LE040A07), University of León (ULE 2001-08B), and Ministerio de Ciencia y Tecnología (BIO2002-03223 and BIO2005-02723). We thank Dr. Ramon Santamaría (Universidad de Salamanca, Spain) for the TEM image of C. glutamicum.

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Letek, M., Fiuza, M., Ordóñez, E. et al. Cell growth and cell division in the rod-shaped actinomycete Corynebacterium glutamicum . Antonie van Leeuwenhoek 94, 99–109 (2008).

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  • Corynebacterium
  • Cell division
  • Cell growth
  • FtsZ
  • DivIVA
  • FtsI
  • Cell wall