From growth physiology to systems biology


  • Moselio Schaechter Center for Microbial Sciences, San Diego State University, and University of California, San Diego, USA


growth physiology, systems biology, balanced growth


As it focuses on the integrated behavior of the entire cell, systems biology is a powerful extension of growth physiology. Here, I briefly trace some of the origins of modern-day bacterial growth physiology and its relevance to systems biology. I describe how growth physiology emerged from the foggy picture of the growth curve as a self-contained entity. For this insight, we can thank Henrici, Hershey, Monod, Maaløe, and others. As a result of their work, growth rate is understood to be the unitary manifestation of the response to nutritional conditions and to the control condition for studies on the effect of environmental stresses. For this response to be usefully reproducible, cultures must be in the steady state known as balanced growth. I point out that present-day experimenters are not always aware of this imperative and thus do not always use conditions that ensure the balanced growth of their control cultures. [Int Microbiol 2006; 9(3):157-161]






Research Reviews