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Issue 48, 2014
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Controlling mechanisms in directional growth of aggregated archaeal cells

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Members of the family Methanosarcinaceae are important archaeal representatives due to their broad functionality, ubiquitous presence, and functionality in harsh environments. A key characteristic is their multicellular (packet) morphology represented by aggregates of spatially confined cells. This morphology is driven by directed growth of cells in confinement with sequential variation in growth direction. To further understand why spatially confined Methanosarcina cells (and in general, confined prokaryotes) change their direction of growth during consecutive growth-division stages, and how a particular cell senses its wall topology and responds to changes on it a theoretical model for stress dependent growth of aggregated archaeal cells was developed. The model utilizes a confined elastic shell representation of aggregated archaeal cell and is derived based on a work-energy principle. The growth law takes into account the fine structure of archaeal cell wall, polymeric nature of methanochondroitin layer, molecular–biochemical processes and is based on thermodynamic laws. The developed model has been applied to three typical configurations of aggregated cell in 3D. The developed model predicted a geometry response with delayed growth of aggregated archaeal cells explained from mechanistic principles, as well as continuous changes in direction of growth during the consecutive growth-division stages. This means that cell wall topology sensing and growth anisotropy can be predicted using simple cellular mechanisms without the need for dedicated cellular machinery.

Graphical abstract: Controlling mechanisms in directional growth of aggregated archaeal cells

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The article was received on 22 Aug 2014, accepted on 22 Oct 2014 and first published on 23 Oct 2014

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C4SM01870B
Author version available: Download Author version (PDF)
Citation: Soft Matter, 2014,10, 9615-9625
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    Controlling mechanisms in directional growth of aggregated archaeal cells

    V. Milkevych and D. J. Batstone, Soft Matter, 2014, 10, 9615
    DOI: 10.1039/C4SM01870B

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