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Rapid phenotypic individualization of bacterial sister cells

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

A growing bacterium typically divides into two genetically identical and morphologically similar sister cells and eventually gives rise to a clonal population. Nevertheless, significant phenotypic differentiation among isogenic cells frequently occurs, with the resulting heterogeneity in cellular behavior often ensuring population level growth and survival in complex and unpredictable environments. Although several mechanisms underlying the generation of phenotypic heterogeneity have been elucidated, the speed with which identical sister cells tend to phenotypically diverge from each other has so far remained unaddressed. Using Escherichia coli as a model organism, we therefore examined the timing and dynamics of phenotypic individualization among sister cells by scrutinizing and modeling microscopically tracked clonally growing populations before and after a semi-lethal heat challenge. This analysis revealed that both survival probability and post-stress physiology of sister cells shift from highly similar to uncorrelated within the first decile of their cell cycles. This nearly-immediate post-fission randomization of sister cell fates highlights the potential of stochastic fluctuations during clonal growth to rapidly generate phenotypically independent individuals.
Journal: Scientific Reports
ISSN: 2045-2322
Issue: 1
Volume: 7
Publication year:2017
BOF-publication weight:2
CSS-citation score:1
Authors from:Higher Education