Chemotactic behaviour of Escherichia coli at high cell density

Colin, Remy and Drescher, Knut and Sourjik, Victor. (2019) Chemotactic behaviour of Escherichia coli at high cell density. Nature Communications, 10 (1). p. 5329.

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At high cell density, swimming bacteria exhibit collective motility patterns, self-organized through physical interactions of a however still debated nature. Although high-density behaviours are frequent in natural situations, it remained unknown how collective motion affects chemotaxis, the main physiological function of motility, which enables bacteria to follow environmental gradients in their habitats. Here, we systematically investigate this question in the model organism Escherichia coli, varying cell density, cell length, and suspension confinement. The characteristics of the collective motion indicate that hydrodynamic interactions between swimmers made the primary contribution to its emergence. We observe that the chemotactic drift is moderately enhanced at intermediate cell densities, peaks, and is then strongly suppressed at higher densities. Numerical simulations reveal that this suppression occurs because the collective motion disturbs the choreography necessary for chemotactic sensing. We suggest that this physical hindrance imposes a fundamental constraint on high-density behaviours of motile bacteria, including swarming and the formation of multicellular aggregates and biofilms.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Biozentrum > Infection Biology > Microbiology and Biophysics (Drescher)
UniBasel Contributors:Drescher, Knut
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:23 Jun 2021 12:49
Deposited On:23 Jun 2021 12:49

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