Title Fluorescence Microscopy of Condensed DNA Conformations of Bacterial Cells
Author Erhan Suleymanoglu *
Address Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences, Section of Molecular Cytology, BioCentrum Amsterdam, University of Amsterdam, Kruislaan 316,1098 SM Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Bibliography Journal of Microbiology, 40(4),319-326, 2002,
Key Words Escherichia coli, DNA condensation, macromolecular crowding, phase separation, fluorescence microscopy
Abstract Cellular DNA in prokaryotes is organized in nucleic acid-protein self-assemblies referred to as the nucleoid. The physical forces responsible for its stability inside the poor solvent properties of the cytoplasm and their functional implications are not understood. Studies on the organisation and functioning of the cytosol of cells largely rely on experimental protocols performed in highly dilute solutions using biochemically purified molecules, which is not a reliable substitute for the situation existing in vivo. Our current research interest is focused on the characterization of biological and physical forces determining the compaction and phase separation of DNA in Escherichia coli cytoplasm. We have emphasized the effect of excluded volume in solutions with high macromolecular concentrations (macromolecular crowding) upon self-association patterns of reactions. The prokaryotic cytosol was simulated by addition of inert polymer polyethylene glycol (PEG) (average molecular weight 20000), as an agent which afterwards facilitates the self-association of macromolecules. Fluorescence microscopy was used for direct visualization of nucleoids in intact cells, after staining with DAPI (4',6-diamidino-2-phenylindole dihydrochloride). Addition of the crowding agent PEG 20,000, in increasing concentrations generated progressively enhanced nucleoid compaction, the effect being stronger in the presence of 0.2 M NaCl and 5 uM MgCl_2. Under these conditions, the nucleoids were compacted to volumes of around 2㎛^3 or comparable sizes with that of living cells.
Download PDF 404-04.pdf