Our lab investigates the mechanisms by which bacteria control their own growth and reproduction. In particular, we want to understand how bacteria dynamically adjust their growth rate and mode of proliferation in response to fluctuating external conditions, for example changes in nutrient availability or at the onset of environmental stress, to ensure their survival. To this end, we study the regulatory circuits governing bacterial cell cycle progression and how these circuits cross-talk with stress response pathways to allow the integration of environmental information into the cell cycle. For our studies, we use a multi-disciplinary approach combining classical genetics, cell biology and biochemistry with modern live-cell imaging and high-throughput techniques. As our primary model organism we utilize the fresh water bacterium Caulobacter crescentus, which divides asymmetrically and has well-defined cell cycle phases. In addition, we do some of our work in Escherichia coli and Salmonella enterica to study how the C. crescentus cell cycle circuit relates to the one of other bacteria, and to investigate how precise regulation of cell cycle progression contributes to bacterial persistence and pathogenesis.

Our lab is located at the Science for Life Laboratory (SciLifeLab), a national center for molecular biosciences with focus on health and environmental research.


External homepage




Cell cycle, bacteria, DNA replication, regulation, adaptation, gene-environment interactions, stress responses, Caulobacter crescentus


Selected publications

Schramm FD, Heinrich K, Thüring M, Bernhardt J and Jonas K (2017). An essential regulatory function of the DnaK chaperone dictates the decision between proliferation and maintenance in Caulobacter crescentusPLOS Genetics. 13:e1007148.

Heinrich K, Sobetzko P and Jonas K. (2016). A Kinase-Phosphatase Switch Transduces Environmental Information into a Bacterial Cell Cycle Circuit. PLOS Genetics. 12: e1006522.

Leslie DJ, Heinen C, Schramm FD, Thüring M, Aakre CD, Murray SM, Laub MT and Jonas K. (2015) Nutritional control of DNA replication initiation through the proteolysis and regulated translation of DnaA. PLOS Genetics. 11: e1005342

Jonas K (2014). To divide or not to divide: control of the bacterial cell cycle by environmental cues. Review. Current Opinion in Microbiology. 18: 54-60.

Jonas K, Liu J, Chien P and Laub MT (2013). Proteotoxic stress induces a cell cycle arrest by stimulating Lon to degrade the replication initiator DnaA. Cell. 154: 623-636.

Jonas K, Chen YE, Laub MT (2011). Modularity of the bacterial cell cycle enables independent spatial and temporal control of DNA replication. Current Biology. 21:1092-101.