How bacterial cells and colonies move on solid substrates

Beitrag in einer Fachzeitschrift

Details zur Publikation

Autorinnen und Autoren: Poenisch W, Weber CA, Zaburdaev V
Zeitschrift: Physical Review E
Jahr der Veröffentlichung: 2019
Band: 99
Heftnummer: 4
ISSN: 2470-0045


Many bacteria rely on active cell appendages, such as type IV pili, to move over substrates and interact with neighboring cells. Here, we study the motion of individual cells and bacterial colonies, mediated by the collective interactions of multiple pili. It was shown experimentally that the substrate motility of Neisseria gonorrhoeae cells can be described as a persistent random walk with a persistence length that exceeds the mean pili length. Moreover, the persistence length increases for a higher number of pili per cell. With the help of a simple, tractable stochastic model, we test whether a tug of war without directional memory can explain the persistent motion of single Neisseria gonorrhoeae cells. While persistent motion of single cells indeed emerges naturally in the model, a tug of war alone is not capable of explaining the motility of microcolonies, which becomes weaker with increasing colony size. We suggest sliding friction between the microcolonies and the substrate as the missing ingredient. While such friction almost does not affect the general mechanism of single cell motility, it has a strong effect on colony motility. We validate the theoretical predictions by using a three-dimensional computational model that includes explicit details of the pili dynamics, force generation, and geometry of cells.

FAU-Autorinnen und Autoren / FAU-Herausgeberinnen und Herausgeber

Zaburdaev, Vasily Prof.
Lehrstuhl für Mathematik in den Lebenswissenschaften

Einrichtungen weiterer Autorinnen und Autoren

Max-Planck-Institut für Physik komplexer Systeme (MPI PKS) / Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems


Poenisch, W., Weber, C.A., & Zaburdaev, V. (2019). How bacterial cells and colonies move on solid substrates. Physical Review E, 99(4).

Poenisch, Wolfram, Christoph A. Weber, and Vasily Zaburdaev. "How bacterial cells and colonies move on solid substrates." Physical Review E 99.4 (2019).


Zuletzt aktualisiert 2019-20-05 um 09:38