For centuries, scientists have peered down the lens of a microscope and watched as bacteria – some circular, others rod-shaped – multiply before their eyes. Yet, much about the details of how cells grow and divide is still hidden, in part because the technology to resolve this process is lacking. A team of engineers, biologists, and physicists at EPFL have now used a combination of state-of-the-art microscopes to uncover new insights into the growth of mycobacteria, a family that includes the bacillus responsible for tuberculosis. The process, described in a paper in Nature Communications, could play a part in antibiotic resistance and other bacterial defense mechanisms.

 

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