Super-resolving the physical mechanisms of bacterial cell division (360G-Wellcome-206670_Z_17_Z)
I aim to reveal the elusive basic principles of bacterial cell division by super-resolution microscopy. This is the next step in my long term vision to discover fundamental principles of how protein nanomachines spatially organize cells. The bacterial cell division machinery is a crucial cellular module essential for bacterial survival, and a mechanistic understanding of division is essential to understanding mode of action of cell-division-targeting antibiotics. Cell division is also a fascinating puzzle: bacteria and animal cells both use a cytoskeleton to constrict the cell; but how do bacteria, unlike animal cells, manage to do so without using any motor proteins? The mechanistic principles of bacterial cell division have escaped elucidation for decades because the cell division machinery is organized on a scale below the diffraction limit of conventional microscopy. I will overcome this problem by pushing the limits of super-resolution microscopy to reveal the organization and motion of the Bacillus subtilis cell division machinery at unprecedented resolution. This will reveal the physical mechanisms of cell division by answering three critical questions: How is the bacterial cell division machinery organized? How does it generate constrictive force? How is force generation coordinated with remodelling of the bacterial cell wall?
£1,013,145 31 May 2017