Control of initiation of DNA replication in Bacillus subtilis and Escherichia coli

Katie H. Jameson, Anthony J. Wilkinson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Initiation of DNA Replication is tightly regulated in all cells since imbalances in chromosomal copy number are deleterious and often lethal. In bacteria such as Bacillus subtilis and Escherichia coli, at the point of cytokinesis, there must be two complete copies of the chromosome to partition into the daughter cells following division at mid-cell during vegetative growth. Under conditions of rapid growth, when the time taken to replicate the chromosome exceeds the doubling time of the cells, there will be multiple initiations per cell cycle and daughter cells will inherit chromosomes that are already undergoing replication. In contrast, cells entering the sporulation pathway in B. subtilis can do so only during a short interval in the cell cycle when there are two, and only two, chromosomes per cell, one destined for the spore and one for the mother cell. Here, we briefly describe the overall process of DNA replication in bacteria before reviewing initiation of DNA replication in detail. The review covers DnaA-directed assembly of the replisome at oriC and the multitude of mechanisms of regulation of initiation, with a focus on the similarities and differences between E. coli and B. subtilis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number22
Number of pages32
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jan 2017

Bibliographical note

© 2017 by the authors


  • Bacillus subtilis
  • DnaA
  • Initiation of DNA replication
  • OriC
  • Regulation of DNA replication
  • Sporulation

Cite this