Single-cell growth inference of corynebacterium glutamicum reveals asymptotically linear growth

Joris Messelink, Fabian Meyer, Marc Bramkamp*, Chase P. Broedersz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Regulation of growth and cell size is crucial for the optimization of bacterial cellular function. So far, single bacterial cells have been found to grow predominantly exponentially, which implies the need for tight regulation to maintain cell size homeostasis. Here, we characterize the growth behavior of the apically growing bacterium Corynebacterium glutamicum using a novel broadly applicable inference method for single-cell growth dynamics. Using this approach, we find that C. glutamicum exhibits asymptotically linear single-cell growth. To explain this growth mode, we model elongation as being rate-limited by the apical growth mechanism. Our model accurately reproduces the inferred cell growth dynamics and is validated with elongation measurements on a transglycosylase deficient ΔrodA mutant. Finally, with simulations we show that the distribution of cell lengths is narrower for linear than exponential growth, suggesting that this asymptotically linear growth mode can act as a substitute for tight division length and division symmetry regulation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere70106
Number of pages69
Issue number10
Early online date4 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was further funded by grants from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (project P05in TRR174, granted to M.B. and project P06 in TRR174, granted to C.B.). J.M. is supported by a DFG fellowship within the Graduate School of Quantitative Biosciences Munich (QBM). We thank our colleagues from C.B. and M.B. groups for discussions, feedback and comments on the manuscripts.

Funding Information:
grants from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (project

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, eLife Sciences Publications Ltd. All rights reserved.


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