Mechanism for Collective Cell Alignment inﾠ Myxococcus xanthus Bacteria
Igoshin, Oleg A.
Myxococcus xanthusﾠcells self-organize into aligned groups, clusters, at various stages of their lifecycle. Formation of these clusters is crucial for the complex dynamic multi-cellular behavior of these bacteria. However, the mechanism underlying the cell alignment and clustering is not fully understood. Motivated by studies of clustering in self-propelled rods, we hypothesized thatﾠM.ﾠxanthusﾠcells can align and form clusters through pure mechanical interactions among cells and between cells and substrate. We test this hypothesis using an agent-based simulation framework in which each agent is based on the biophysical model of an individualﾠM.ﾠxanthusﾠcell. We show that model agents, under realistic cell flexibility values, can align and form cell clusters but only when periodic reversals of cell directions are suppressed. However, by extending our model to introduce the observed ability of cells to deposit and follow slime trails, we show that effective trail-following leads to clusters in reversing cells. Furthermore, we conclude that mechanical cell alignment combined with slime-trail-following is sufficient to explain the distinct clustering behaviors observed for wild-type and non-reversingﾠM.ﾠxanthusﾠmutants in recent experiments. Our results are robust to variation in model parameters, match the experimentally observed trends and can be applied to understand surface motility patterns of other bacterial species.
Citable link to this pagehttp://hdl.handle.net/1911/88655
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