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ics Colloquium
Friday, March 24, 2017
3:30 PM
Physics Building, Room 204
Ariel Amir [Host: Marija Vucelja]
Harvard University
"Controlling cell size and DNA replication in bacteria - insights from mathematical modeling"

Understanding how cells control and coordinate the various ongoing cellular processes, such as DNA replication, growth and division is an outstanding fundamental problem in biology. Remarkably, bacterial cells may divide faster than their chromosomes replicate, implying that cells maintain multiple rounds of chromosome replication, and that tight control over DNA replication must be in place. I will show how ideas from statistical mechanics and mathematical modeling can serve as alternative "microscopes" into this problem. Our results suggest that both cell size and chromosome replication may be simultaneously regulated by following a simple control mechanism, in which, effectively, a constant volume is added between two DNA replication initiation events. This model elucidates the experimentally observed correlations between various events in the cell cycle, and explains the exponential dependence of cell size on the growth rate, as well as recent experiments in which cell morphology is perturbed.


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