Reassessment of the distinctive geometry of Staphylococcus aureus cell division

Bruno M. Saraiva, Moritz Sorg, Ana R. Pereira, Mário J. Ferreira, Léo C. Caulat, Nathalie T. Reichmann, Mariana G. Pinho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Staphylococcus aureus is generally thought to divide in three alternating orthogonal planes over three consecutive division cycles. Although this mode of division was proposed over four decades ago, the molecular mechanism that ensures this geometry of division has remained elusive. Here we show, for three different strains, that S. aureus cells do not regularly divide in three alternating perpendicular planes as previously thought. Imaging of the divisome shows that a plane of division is always perpendicular to the previous one, avoiding bisection of the nucleoid, which segregates along an axis parallel to the closing septum. However, one out of the multiple planes perpendicular to the septum which divide the cell in two identical halves can be used in daughter cells, irrespective of its orientation in relation to the penultimate division plane. Therefore, division in three orthogonal planes is not the rule in S. aureus.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4097
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020


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