Two continuum models for the spreading of myxobacteria swarms

Angela Gallegos, Barbara Mazzag, Alex Mogilner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

We analyze the phenomenon of spreading of a Myxococcus xanthus bacterial colony on plates coated with nutrient. The bacteria spread by gliding on the surface. In the first few hours, cell growth is irrelevant to colony spread. In this case, bacteria spread through peninsular protrusions from the edge of the initial colony. We analyze the diffusion through the narrowing reticulum of cells on the surface mathematically and derive formulae for the spreading rates. On the time scale of tens of hours, effective diffusion of the bacteria, combined with cell division and growth, causes a constant linear increase in the colony's radius. Mathematical analysis and numerical solution of reaction-diffusion equations describing the bacterial and nutrient dynamics demonstrate that, in this regime, the spreading rate is proportional to the square root of both the effective diffusion coefficient and the nutrient concentration. The model predictions agree with the data on spreading rate dependence on the type of gliding motility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)837-861
Number of pages25
JournalBulletin of Mathematical Biology
Volume68
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2006

Fingerprint

Myxococcales
Myxobacteria
swarms
Continuum Model
Swarm
Nutrients
Bacteria
gliding
cell growth
bacteria
Myxococcus xanthus
Food
bacterium
Motility
reticulum
Cell Division
Cell
nutrients
Mathematical Analysis
Reaction-diffusion Equations

Keywords

  • Colony spreading
  • Continuum model
  • Gliding motility
  • Myxobacteria swarms
  • Traveling wave

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

Cite this

Two continuum models for the spreading of myxobacteria swarms. / Gallegos, Angela; Mazzag, Barbara; Mogilner, Alex.

In: Bulletin of Mathematical Biology, Vol. 68, No. 4, 05.2006, p. 837-861.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Gallegos, Angela ; Mazzag, Barbara ; Mogilner, Alex. / Two continuum models for the spreading of myxobacteria swarms. In: Bulletin of Mathematical Biology. 2006 ; Vol. 68, No. 4. pp. 837-861.
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