In rod-shaped Escherichia coli cells, Min proteins oscillate back and forth between poles to assist cell division. Cees Dekker and colleagues have now been able to explore how these proteins adapt to different cellular geometries by using nanofabricated chambers to sculpt living bacterial cells into a variety of shapes and sizes. The cells are shaped into squares, rectangles, circles and triangles, and the Min proteins exhibit a range of versatile oscillation patterns that include rotational, longitudinal, diagonal, stripe and transversal modes. The data demonstrate how a Turing reactiondiffusion process achieves adaptation within the cell boundary. The artists impression on the cover shows bacterial cells sculpted into a variety of shapes, and highlights the oscillating patterns of Min proteins experimentally observed within such shaped cells.
Article p719; News & Views p655
IMAGE: CEES DEKKER LAB, TU DELFT / TREMANI
COVER DESIGN: KAREN MOORE