Direct observation of independently moving replisomes in Escherichia coli

Aleksandre Japaridze, Christos Gogou, Jacob W.J. Kerssemakers, Huyen My Nguyen, Cees Dekker*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
31 Downloads (Pure)


The replication and transfer of genomic material from a cell to its progeny are vital processes in all living systems. Here we visualize the process of chromosome replication in widened E. coli cells. Monitoring the replication of single chromosomes yields clear examples of replication bubbles that reveal that the two replisomes move independently from the origin to the terminus of replication along each of the two arms of the circular chromosome, providing direct support for the so-called train-track model, and against a factory model for replisomes. The origin of replication duplicates near midcell, initially splitting to random directions and subsequently towards the poles. The probability of successful segregation of chromosomes significantly decreases with increasing cell width, indicating that chromosome confinement by the cell boundary is an important driver of DNA segregation. Our findings resolve long standing questions in bacterial chromosome organization.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3109
Number of pages10
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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