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Explaining the causes of cell death in cyanobacteria: what role for asymmetric division?

Franklin, D. J., 2014. Explaining the causes of cell death in cyanobacteria: what role for asymmetric division? Journal of Plankton Research, 36 (1), 11-17.

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Franklin Cyano asymmetric division JPR 2014.pdf - Accepted Version


DOI: 10.1093/plankt/fbt114


Cyanobacteria contribute a significant fraction of global primary production and are therefore of great ecological significance. An individual cyanobacteria cell has four potential fates: to divide, perhaps after a dormant period, to be eaten, to undergo viral lysis, or to undergo cell death. In some studies, cyanobacteria cell death has been classified as programmed cell death, borrowing a concept more widely known in metazoan cells, and there are various biochemical parallels to support such a categorisation. However, at the same time there is a growing awareness of asymmetric division as a fundamental process in bacterial division which can result in non-equal daughter cells with differing fitness. Thanks to recent theoretical and experimental advances it is now possible to explore cyanobacteria cell death in the light of asymmetric division and to test hypotheses on the ultimate causes of cyanobacterial cell death. Assessing the degree of protein damage within individual cells during population growth is a sensible initial research target as is the application of techniques which allow the tracking of cell lineages. The existence of asymmetric division in cyanobacteria is likely given its suggested ubiquity across the bacterial domain of life. It will be technically difficult to test the interaction of asymmetric division with environmental variability, and how that leads to individual cell death via differing susceptibilities to environmental stress. However, testing such ideas could confirm asymmetric division as the ultimate cause of cell death in cyanobacteria and thereby allow a better understanding of the patterns of cell death in natural populations.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:First published online 12 Nov 2013
Group:Faculty of Science & Technology
ID Code:22604
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:06 Oct 2015 14:17
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 13:53


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