Christine Jacobs-Wagner

Director of the Microbial Diversity Institute; HHMI Investigator

Research Interests

Cell division; chromosome segregation; cell cycle coordination; cell morphogenesis, cytokeleton, cell polarity

Research Summary

We study the molecular mechanisms underlying bacterial multiplication. Bacteria are renowned for their fast multiplication. During their short cell cycles, bacteria grow, replicate and segregate their chromosomes and divide. They do all of this with sometimes blazing speed and with remarkable temporal and spatial accuracy, which explains their success.

Despite the medical, agricultural and ecological importance of bacteria, little is known about the molecular mechanisms involved in growth, DNA segregation, cell division and cell morphogenesis. Similarly, the temporal and spatial mechanisms regulating these essential processes remain largely elusive. We address these fundamental questions using genetics, biochemistry, quantitative fluorescence microscopy and modeling.

Selected Publications

  • Montero Llopis P, Jackson AF, Sliusarenko O, Surovtsev I, Heinritz J, Emonet T, and Jacobs-Wagner C. (2010) Spatial organization of the flow of genetic information in bacteria. NAture, 466:77-81.
  • Schofield WB, Lim HC, And Jacobs-Wagner C. (2010) Cell cycle coordination and regulation of bacterial chromosome segregation dynamics by polarly localized proteins. EMBO J, 29:3068-81.
  • Alyahya A, Alexander R, Costa T, Henriques A, Emonet T, Jacobs-Wagner C (2009) Rod Z, a component of the bacterial core morphogenic apparatus. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 106, 1239-1244.
  • Ebersbach G, Briegel A, Jensen GJ and Jacobs-Wagner C (2008) A self-associating protein critical for chromosome attachment, division and polar organization in Caulobacter. Cell 134, 956-968.
  • Charbon G, Cabeen MT and Jacobs-Wagner C. (2009) Bacterial intermediate filaments: In vivo assembly, organization and dynamics of crescentin. Genes & Development 23, 1131-44.
  • Cabeen MT, Charbon G, Vollmer W, Born P, Ausmees A, Weibel, D and Jacobs-Wagner C. (2009) Bacterial cell curvature via mechanical control of cell growth. EMBO J 28, 1208-1219.
  • Lam, H., Schofield, W.B., and Jacobs-Wagner, C. (2006). A landmark protein essential for establishing and perpetuating the polarity of a bacterial cell. Cell 124:1011-23.
  • Matroule JY, Lam H, Burnette DT, and Jacobs-Wagner C. (2004) Cytokinesis monitoring during development: Rapid pole-to-pole shuttling of a signaling protein by localized kinase and phosphatase in Caulobacter. Cell 118: 579-90.
  • Ausmees, N., Kuhn, J. R., and Jacobs-Wagner, C. (2003) The Bacterial Cytoskeleton: An Intermediate Filament-like Function in Cell Shape. Cell 115:705-13.

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