A new study has found that the distribution of cellular organelles is uneven when a bacterial cell divides into two daughter cells which will behave differently from each other, depending on which parts they received in the split.
Senior author Dr. Samuel Miller, University of Washington professor of microbiology, genome sciences, and medicine, said that this is another way that cells within a population can diversify, asserting that here they've shown it in a bacterium, but it probably is true for all cells, including human cells.
In an earlier paper, Miller and his colleagues showed that when bacteria divided, the concentration of an important regulatory molecule, called cyclic diguanosine monophosphate (c-di-GMP) was unevenly distributed between the two progeny. c-di-GMP is a second messenger molecule.
In the latest study, the Miller and his colleagues worked out the molecular mechanism behind the difference in c-di-GMP concentrations seen between daughter cells.
When Pseudomonas cells divide, they pinch in half to create two daughter cells. Although the cells are genetically identical, only one daughter cell can inherit the bacterium's single propeller. The other cell can synthesize its own propeller, but immediately after division the two cells are quite different.
Together these two organelles work in concert to lower the concentration of c-di-GMP and control swimming.
The study has been published in the online journal eLife.