The Escherichia coli cell cycle is a classic, but we are still missing some of its essential aspects. The reason is that our knowledge is mostly based on population data, and our grasp of the behavior of single cells is still very limited. Today, new dynamic single-cell data promise to overcome this barrier. Existing data from single cells have already led to findings and hypotheses that challenge standard views, and have raised new questions. Here, we review these recent developments and propose that a systematic exploration of the correlation patterns between 'cell-cycle intervals' defined by key molecular events measured in many single cells could lead to a quantitative characterization of the cell cycle in terms of inherent stochasticity and homeostatic controls.

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Publisher Elsevier/ Cell Press
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Journal Trends Microbiol.
Osella, M, Tans, S.J, & Lagomarsino, M.C. (2017). Step by Step, Cell by Cell: Quantification of the Bacterial Cell Cycle. Trends Microbiol., 25(4), 250–256. doi:10.1016/j.tim.2016.12.005