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A new study from EPFL scientists has found that bacteria use mechanical forces to divide, along with biological factors. The research, led by the groups of John McKinney and Georg Fantner at EPFL, came after recent studies suggested that bacterial division is not only governed by biology, but also by physics. However, this interplay is poorly understood.
Most bacteria are rod-shaped cells that multiply by doubling their length and dividing in the middle to yield two "daughter cells". Mechanisms that control these processes in space and time are critical for survival. The importance of these mechanisms becomes even clearer, given how pervasive bacteria are in everyday life, and how ubiquitous their use is in biotechnology.
Scientists - Bacteria - Pathogen - Tuberculosis - People
The scientists studied bacteria that are very similar to the human pathogen that causes tuberculosis, which kills more people than any other infectious disease. To study the growth and division dynamics of these "mycobacteria" the scientists built a special instrument that combines optical and atomic force microscopy (AFM) to image and manipulate cells at the size scale of...
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