Dynamics of Bacterial Chemotaxis

Amoolya Singh, University of California, Berkeley

The specific aim of this project is to model and analyze the chemotactic response of bacteria. One of the best-studied signal transduction pathways in biology, chemotaxis is a mechanism by which cells sense changes in the chemical composition of their environment (nutrients, toxins, invaders) and move accordingly. We represented the chemotactic response as a set of partial differential equations where the spatial term is the position of the cell, varying in time along a chemical concentration gradient, and the temporal term(s) are the concentrations and states of 4-5 key messenger proteins. Thus we model, for a single bacterial cell, the signal transduction module that controls chemotactic behavior. We hope the model will capture the relationships between system parameters and network dynamics. After writing down this system in the appropriate form, we use it to explain one of many well-observed response phenomena such as pattern formation, robustness, sensitivity, and adaptation.

Abstract Author(s): Amoolya H. Singh, Denise M. Wolf, Adam P. Arkin