Electron microscopy analysis of Mycobacterium tuberculosis cell division

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The ultrastructure of Mycobacterium tuberculosis cells undergoing division was examined by electron microscopy. Two features of cell division were observed and are described here. First, cells are capable of undergoing a type of "snapping" postfission movement. This movement is likely due to a multi-layered cell wall in which the inner layer participates in septum formation while the outer layer ruptures first on one side. A second feature related to cell division is the ability of dividing cells to form transient branching structures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-20
Number of pages6
JournalFEMS Microbiology Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 1 2004

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
I would like to thank Christine Davitt of Washington State University and Elisabeth Fischer of Rocky Mountain Laboratories, NIAID, NIH for their technical assistance on the electron microscopy studies. I am also appreciative of Anthony Garza and Harold Johnson for helpful comments. This research was made possible by a Research Grant from the American Lung Association and by a New Investigator Matching Grant from the National Foundation of Infectious Disease.


  • Cell branching
  • Electron microscopy
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis
  • Snapping cell division


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