Highly Deviated Asymmetric Division in Very Low Proportion of Mycobacterial Mid-log Phase Cells

Srinivasan Vijay, Nagaraja Mukkayyan , Parthasarathi Ajitkumar*
Department of Microbiology and Cell Biology, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore – 560012,Karnataka,India.

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© Vijay et al., Licensee Bentham Open.

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* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Microbiology and Cell Biology, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore-560012, India, Tel: 91-80-22932344, Fax: 91-80-23602697, E-mail:


In this study, we show that about 20% of the septating Mycobacterium smegmatis and Mycobacterium xenopi cells in the exponential phase populationdivideasymmetrically, with an unusually high deviation (17 ± 4%) in the division site from the median, to generate short cells and long cells, thereby generating population heterogeneity. This mode of division is very different from the symmetric division of themajority (about 80%) of the septating cells in the Mycobacterium smegmatis, Mycobacterium marinum, and Mycobacterium bovis BCG exponential phase population, with 5-10% deviation in the division site from the mid-cell site, as reported by recent studies. The short cells and the long cells further grew and divided to generate a population. We speculate that the generation of the short cells and the long cells through the highly deviated asymmetric divisionin the low proportions of mycobacterial population may have a role in stress tolerance.

Keywords: Asymmetric cell division, ycobacterium smegmatis, ycobacterium xenopi, ucleoid, hort cell.