Binary Fission

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This illustration shows the steps of binary fission in prokaryotes. Replication of the single, circular chromosome begins at the origin of replication and continues simultaneously in both directions. As the D N A is replicated, the cell elongates, and upper case F lower case t lower case s upper case Z proteins migrate toward the center of the cell where they form a ring. The upper F lower t lower s upper Z ring directs the formation of a septum that divides the cell in two once D N A replication is complete.
These images show the steps of binary fission in prokaryotes. (credit: modification of work by “Mcstrother”/Wikimedia Commons)

OpenStax Biology 2e

Due to the relative simplicity of the prokaryotes, the cell division process is a less complicated and much more rapid process than cell division in eukaryotes. As a review of the general information on cell division we discussed at the beginning of this chapter, recall that the single, circular DNA chromosome of bacteria occupies a specific location, the nucleoid region, within the cell. Although the DNA of the nucleoid is associated with proteins that aid in packaging the molecule into a compact size, there are no histone proteins and thus no nucleosomes in prokaryotes. The packing proteins of bacteria are, however, related to the cohesin and condensin proteins involved in the chromosome compaction of eukaryotes.

The bacterial chromosome is attached to the plasma membrane at about the midpoint of the cell. The starting point of replication, the origin, is close to the binding site of the chromosome to the plasma membrane. Replication of the DNA is bidirectional, moving away from the origin on both strands of the loop simultaneously. As the new double strands are formed, each origin point moves away from the cell wall attachment toward the opposite ends of the cell. As the cell elongates, the growing membrane aids in the transport of the chromosomes. After the chromosomes have cleared the midpoint of the elongated cell, cytoplasmic separation begins. The formation of a ring composed of repeating units of a protein called FtsZ (short for “filamenting temperature-sensitive mutant Z”) directs the partition between the nucleoids. Formation of the FtsZ ring triggers the accumulation of other proteins that work together to recruit new membrane and cell wall materials to the site. A septum is formed between the daughter nucleoids, extending gradually from the periphery toward the center of the cell. When the new cell walls are in place, the daughter cells separate.

Source:

Clark, M., Douglas, M., Choi, J. Biology 2e. Houston, Texas: OpenStax. Access for free at: https://openstax.org/details/books/biology-2e

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