Researchers provide never-before-seen views of double-membraned bacteria as they divide

Using a combination of fluorescent microscopy and cutting-edge cryo-electron tomography, researchers in the labs of Luke Chao and Tom Bernhardt in the Blavatnik Institute at Harvard Medical School have provided never-before-seen views of double-membraned bacteria as they divide.

The work offers new insights into the division process and may aid in the fight against antibiotic resistance, since these drugs typically target bacteria as they divide, when the cell wall and membranes are weakest.

Led by postdoctoral research fellows Paula Navarro and Andrea Vettiger, the two groups made the discoveries possible by combining their expertise in bacterial cell division, bacterial genetics, and cutting-edge imaging.

Results were published Sept. 12 in Nature Microbiology.

This study was funded by the National Institutes of Health (grants R35GM142553 and R01AI083365) and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute along with support from the Swiss National Science Foundation, the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO), and Charles University.