Curvature and shape determination of growing bacteria

Ranjan Mukhopadhyay, Ned S. Wingreen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Bacterial cells come in a variety of shapes, determined by the stress-bearing cell wall. Though many molecular details about the cell wall are known, our understanding of how a particular shape is produced during cell growth is at its infancy. Experiments on curved Escherichia coli grown in microtraps, and on naturally curved Caulobacter crescentus, reveal different modes of growth: one preserving arc length and the other preserving radius of curvature. We present a simple model for curved cell growth that relates these two growth modes to distinct but related growth rules-"hooplike growth" and "self-similar growth"-and discuss the implications for microscopic growth mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number062901
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 17 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability


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