Thermosensitive fts mutants of Escherichia coli belonging to seven previously identified genetic classes (ftsA to ftsG) were studied from a physiological standpoint. These mutants immediately stopped dividing and formed multinucleated filaments when the temperature was shifted to 41 C. Macromolecular syntheses (deoxyribonucleic acid), ribonucleic acid, cell mass, and murein) continued exponentially for at least 40 to 120 min. The number of surviving bacteria remained constant during the time of incubation, and this number began to decrease exponentially, as the rate of cell mass increase leveled off from the initial rate. The recovery of cell division at 30 C in these filamentous cells was studied after 60 min of incubation at 41 C. The existence of three types of mutants was shown. The ftsA and ftsE mutants resumed cell division without new protein synthesis; ftsD mutants resumed cell division only if new protein synthesis occured, while ftsB, C, F and G mutants did not resume cell division at all. No alteration in the cell envelope was detected by the method used here, although the ftsA, B, D, F and G mutations, in contrast with ftsC and E, caused an increased resistance to penicillin G. It was also shown that the recA mutation did not suppress the effect of the fts mutations and that none of the lysogenic fts mutants induced prophage multiplication while forming filaments. The effects of osmotic pressure and salts which rescue the mutant phenotype is described.