- The Z-ring plays a central role in bacterial division. It consists of FtsZ filaments, but the way these reorganize in the ring-like structure during septation remains largely unknown. Here, we measure the effective constriction dynamics of the ring. Using an oscillating optical trap, we can switch individual rod-shaped E. coli cells between horizontal and vertical orientations. In the vertical orientation, the fluorescent Z-ring image appears as a symmetric circular structure that renders itself to quantitative analysis. In the horizontal orientation, we use phase-contrast imaging to determine the extent of the cell constriction and obtain the effective time of division. We find evidence that the Z-ring constricts at a faster rate than the cell envelope such that its radial width (inwards from the cytoplasmic membrane) grows during septation. In this respect, our results differ from those recently obtained using photoactivated localization microscopy (PALM) where the radial width of the Z-ring was found to be approximately constant as the ring constricts. A possible reason for the different behavior of the constricting Z-rings could be the significant difference in the corresponding cell growth rates.