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

Inês Baptista, Vatsala Chauhan, Bilena Almeida, Vinodh Kandavalli, André S. Ribeiro

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-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 publicationAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
EditorsG. Duménil, S. van Teeffelen
Place of PublicationCham
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-46886-6
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-46885-9
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Publication series

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


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


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