Adjustment in tumbling rates improves bacterial chemotaxis on obstacle-laden terrains

Rashid, S., Long, Z., Singh, S., Kohram, M., Vashistha, H., Navlakha, S., Salman, H., Oltvai, Z. N., Bar-Joseph, Z. (June 2019) Adjustment in tumbling rates improves bacterial chemotaxis on obstacle-laden terrains. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 116 (24). pp. 11770-11775. ISSN 0027-8424 (Public Dataset)

DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1816315116


The mechanisms of bacterial chemotaxis have been extensively studied for several decades, but how the physical environment influences the collective migration of bacterial cells remains less understood. Previous models of bacterial chemotaxis have suggested that the movement of migrating bacteria across obstacle-laden terrains may be slower compared with terrains without them. Here, we show experimentally that the size or density of evenly spaced obstacles do not alter the average exit rate of Escherichia coli cells from microchambers in response to external attractants, a function that is dependent on intact cell-cell communication. We also show, both by analyzing a revised theoretical model and by experimentally following single cells, that the reduced exit time in the presence of obstacles is a consequence of reduced tumbling frequency that is adjusted by the E. coli cells in response to the topology of their environment. These findings imply operational short-term memory of bacteria while moving through complex environments in response to chemotactic stimuli and motivate improved algorithms for self-autonomous robotic swarms.

Item Type: Paper
Subjects: organism description > bacteria
organs, tissues, organelles, cell types and functions > cell types and functions > cell functions > cell motility
organism description > bacteria > escherichia coli
CSHL Authors:
Communities: CSHL labs > Navlakha lab
Depositing User: Matthew Dunn
Date: 11 June 2019
Date Deposited: 06 Nov 2019 16:35
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2019 16:35
PMCID: PMC6575235
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