Chromosome replication and segregation in bacteria

Rodrigo Reyes-Lamothe, Emilien Nicolas, David J Sherratt

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


In dividing cells, chromosome duplication once per generation must be coordinated with faithful segregation of newly replicated chromosomes and with cell growth and division. Many of the mechanistic details of bacterial replication elongation are well established. However, an understanding of the complexities of how replication initiation is controlled and coordinated with other cellular processes is emerging only slowly. In contrast to eukaryotes, in which replication and segregation are separate in time, the segregation of most newly replicated bacterial genetic loci occurs sequentially soon after replication. We compare the strategies used by chromosomes and plasmids to ensure their accurate duplication and segregation and discuss how these processes are coordinated spatially and temporally with growth and cell division. We also describe what is known about the three conserved families of ATP-binding proteins that contribute to chromosome segregation and discuss their inter-relationships in a range of disparate bacteria.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-143
Number of pages23
JournalAnnual review of genetics
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Bacterial Proteins/genetics
  • Cell Division
  • Chromosome Segregation
  • Chromosomes, Bacterial/genetics
  • DNA Primase
  • DNA Replication
  • DNA, Bacterial/genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins/genetics
  • Endodeoxyribonucleases/genetics
  • Escherichia coli/genetics
  • Escherichia coli Proteins/genetics
  • Exodeoxyribonucleases/genetics
  • Membrane Proteins/genetics
  • Plasmids/genetics
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Translocation, Genetic


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