Jan 22, 2018 | Updated: 09:54 AM EDT

What Is The Fundamental Unit Of Cell Size In Bacteria, Study Finds

Apr 16, 2017 05:32 PM EDT

Scientists found in their prior experiments that bacteria growths are totally depended on the quality of nutrients. Growth becomes faster and bigger when nutrients become better, as it is described in the “growth law”, a principle in microbial physiology. But, there is some twist in this plot.

Scientists still not found the answer why bacteria cell divides when it reaches a certain critical size, even when they have a very few amount of nutrients. To find out the answer how bacterial growth is inhibited, a research team of bioengineers, physicists, and biologists from UC San Diego applied mathematical models in a large number of experiments.

In the journal of Current Biology, researchers explained that the newly developed general growth law will help to understand the origin of the idiosyncrasies of bacterial physiology. Lead scientist and assistant professor of physics and molecular biology at UC San Diego, said,“A few years ago, we set out to do extensive growth inhibition experiments to test the growth law using the model organism Escherichia coli”.

Jun and his colleague found that during the bacteria replication or cell division, their genetic materials remain remarkably constant during several genetic processes such as cell wall synthesis, protein and DNA synthesis, and cell shaping. EurekAlert reported that invariant cell size represents a fundamental unit of cellular resources required to start growth.

Jun also explained the origin of the growth law that the unit cell is the most fundamental building block of cell size. A technique called ‘CRISPR interference’ that is the technique for cell sampling and genetic methods, helped scientists to extract large amounts of physiological data from 10 million bacterial cells in their growth inhibition experiments. He also added that the process also allowed them to understand the data at a deeper level with detailed and reliable statistics.

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