Cell morphology and nucleoid dynamics in dividing D. radiodurans

Kevin Floc’h, Françoise Lacroix, Pascale Servant, Yung-Sing Wong, Jean-Philippe Kleman, Dominique Bourgeois, Joanna Timmins

Mar 22, 2019

Received: 20th March 2019

Our knowledge of bacterial nucleoids originates mostly from studies of rod- or crescent-shaped bacteria. Here, we reveal that Deinococcus radiodurans, a relatively large, spherical bacterium, possessing a multipartite genome, and well-known for its radioresistance, constitutes a valuable system for the study of nucleoids in cocci. Using advanced microscopy, we show that as D. radiodurans progresses through its cell cycle, it undergoes coordinated morphological changes at both the cellular and nucleoid level. D. radiodurans nucleoids were found to be highly condensed, but also surprisingly dynamic, adopting multiple distinct configurations and presenting a novel chromosomal arrangement in which oriC loci are radially distributed around clustered ter sites maintained at the centre of cells. Single-molecule and ensemble studies of the abundant histone-like HU protein suggest that its loose binding to DNA may contribute to this remarkable plasticity. These findings clearly demonstrate that nucleoid organization is complex and tightly coupled to cell cycle progression.

Read in full at bioRxiv.

This is an abstract of a preprint hosted on an independent third party site. It has not been peer reviewed but is currently under consideration at Nature Communications.

Nature Communications

Nature Research, Springer Nature