Mechanisms for Chromosome Segregation in Bacteria

Christos Gogou, Aleksandre Japaridze, Cees Dekker*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
20 Downloads (Pure)


The process of DNA segregation, the redistribution of newly replicated genomic material to daughter cells, is a crucial step in the life cycle of all living systems. Here, we review DNA segregation in bacteria which evolved a variety of mechanisms for partitioning newly replicated DNA. Bacterial species such as Caulobacter crescentus and Bacillus subtilis contain pushing and pulling mechanisms that exert forces and directionality to mediate the moving of newly synthesized chromosomes to the bacterial poles. Other bacteria such as Escherichia coli lack such active segregation systems, yet exhibit a spontaneous de-mixing of chromosomes due to entropic forces as DNA is being replicated under the confinement of the cell wall. Furthermore, we present a synopsis of the main players that contribute to prokaryotic genome segregation. We finish with emphasizing the importance of bottom-up approaches for the investigation of the various factors that contribute to genome segregation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number685687
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • bacterial chromosome
  • chromosome segregation
  • entropic segregation
  • ParABS system
  • prokaryotic segregation mechanisms
  • structural maintenance of chromosome


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