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If somehow a bacterium, let's say E. coli, is engineered in such a way that it loses the formation of ftsZ ring (or other ways that inhibit cell division), and if other conditions are optimal for bacterial growth, then will the bacterium grow without cell division? If so, how long will it live? And how will it age?

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  • $\begingroup$ what do you mean by bacterial growth without cell division? I didn't know that was even possible. $\endgroup$ Aug 8, 2016 at 16:09
  • $\begingroup$ You need to be more specific about your definition of "growth". Many mycelial Actinobacteria develop and replicate without undergoing cytokinesis for long periods of time, but they evetually break into separate cells. The strict classic definition of bacterial growth implies cell division. $\endgroup$ Aug 8, 2016 at 19:26
  • $\begingroup$ Your question is a bit open-ended (of the kind "given an imaginary situation X, what will happen?") . Such questions attract answers that would be based on guesses and opinions rather than actual facts. If you add some more details then the question may become answerable. $\endgroup$
    – WYSIWYG
    Aug 8, 2016 at 19:40
  • $\begingroup$ If you post about bacteria, please be aware that the singular is bacterium and the plural bacteria. I appreciate this is not self-evident as it is Latin, not standard English, but it's not that hard. I've corrected it in your posting. $\endgroup$
    – David
    Aug 8, 2016 at 20:36

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First of all, the growth of a bacterium is associated with an increase in cell biomass.So if a bacterium is restricted from replicating it does not grow. Coming to your later parts of the questions about how long will it live and will it age; Yes, a bacterium would age irrespective of its ability to replicate.According to The Free radical hypothesis, all organisms age due to random deleterious events, oxidative damage by ROS produced during normal metabolism. It has also been found that cells undergo irreparable damage which can also lead to cell death eventually.

A complete review on bacterial ageing: http://www.ias.ac.in/article/fulltext/reso/017/04/0347-0364

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