Adaptive division control in stressed bacterial cells
Shiladitya Banerjee (UCL, UK)
Control of cell size is a fundamental adaptive trait that underlies the coupling between cell growth and division. Cells possess the unique ability to adapt their size and shapes in response to environmental cues, thereby translating extracellular information into decisions to grow or divide. However, the physical mechanisms mediating the regulation of cell size and division timing remain poorly understood. In this talk, I will discuss our recent discovery of an adaptive model of cell size control in bacteria, where the decision to divide is tightly regulated by the spatial patterning of cell wall growth modes. Using a combination of stochastic mechanical modelling and single-cell experiments, I will elucidate the implications of the size control model for cellular fitness adaptation under stress. In particular, our results show that morphological transformations provide fitness and survival advantages to bacteria under sustained antibiotic treatment.