In a search for the mechanism underlying dimensional changes in bacteria, the glucose analogue methyl α-D-glucoside was used to effect a rapid reduction in the mass growth rate of by competitively inhibiting glucose uptake, a so-called nutritional shift-down. The new steady-state cell mass and volume were reached after 1 h, during which the rate of cell division was maintained; rearrangement of the linear dimensions (cell length, diameter), however, required an additional 2 h and caused an undershoot in cell length, consistent with the view that is slow to modify its diameter. The results are compared with the overshoot in cell length that occurs following nutritional shift-up.


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