Trends in cell biology. 2022-11-01; 32.11: 900-907.

Cellular mechanics during division of a genomically minimal cell

Pelletier JF, Glass JI, Strychalski EA

PMID: 35907702


Genomically minimal cells, such as JCVI-syn3.0 and JCVI-syn3A, offer an empowering framework to study relationships between genotype and phenotype. With a polygenic basis, the fundamental physiological process of cell division depends on multiple genes of known and unknown function in JCVI-syn3A. A physical description of cellular mechanics can further understanding of the contributions of genes to cell division in this genomically minimal context. We review current knowledge on genes in JCVI-syn3A contributing to two physical parameters relevant to cell division, namely, the surface-area-to-volume ratio and membrane curvature. This physical view of JCVI-syn3A may inform the attribution of gene functions and conserved processes in bacterial physiology, as well as whole-cell models and the engineering of synthetic cells.