The rates of synthesis of peptidoglycan and protein during the division cycle of were measured by the membrane elution technique using cells differentially labelled with -acetylglucosamine and leucine. During the first part of the division cycle the ratio of the rates of protein and peptidoglycan synthesis was constant. The rate of peptidoglycan synthesis, relative to the rate of protein synthesis, increased during the latter part of the division cycle. These results support a simple, bipartite model of cell surface increase in rod-shaped cells. Prior to the start of constriction the cell surface increases only by lateral wall extension. After cell constriction starts, the cell surface increases by both lateral wall and pole growth. The increase in surface area is partitioned between the lateral wall and the pole so that the volume of the cell increases exponentially. No variation in cell density occurs, because the increase in surface allows a continuous exponential increase in cell volume that accommodates the exponential increase in cell mass. The results are consistent with the constant density of the growing cell and the surface stress model for the regulation of cell surface synthesis. In addition, the elution pattern suggests that the membrane elution method does work by having the cells effectively bound to the membrane by their poles.


An erratum has been published for this content:
The Fourth Arginine Catabolic Pathway of

Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...



  1. Cooper S. 1988; The rate and topography of peptidoglycan synthesis during the division cycle of Salmonella typhimurium. Journal of Bacteriology in the Press
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Cooper S., Helmstetter C. E. 1968; Chromosome replication and the division cycle of Escherichia coli. Journal of Molecular Biology 31:519–540
    [Google Scholar]
  3. Cooper S., Metzger N. 1986; Efficient and quantitative incorporation of diaminopimelic acid into the peptidoglycan of Salmonella typhimurium. FEMS Microbiology Letters 36:191–194
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Greenway D. L. A., Perkins H. R. 1985; Turnover of the cell wall peptidoglycan during growth of Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Escherichia coli. Relative stability of newly synthesized material. Journal of General Microbiology 131:253–263
    [Google Scholar]
  5. Helmstetter C. E. 1967; Rate of DNA synthesis during the division cycle of Escherichia coli B/r. Journal of Molecular Biology 24:417–427
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Helmstetter C. E., Cooper S. 1968; DNA synthesis during the division cycle of rapidly growing Escherichia coli B/r. Journal of Molecular Biology 31:507–518
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Woldringh C. L., Huls P., Pas E., Brakenhoff G. J., Nanninga N. 1987; Topography of peptidoglycan synthesis during elongation and polar cap formation in a cell division mutant of Escherichia coli MC4100. Journal of General Microbiology 133:575–586
    [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error