Mathematical Description of Bacterial Traveling Pulses

Abstract

The Keller-Segel system has been widely proposed as a model for bacterial waves driven by chemotactic processes. Current experiments on Escherichia coli have shown the precise structure of traveling pulses. We present here an alternative mathematical description of traveling pulses at the macroscopic scale. This modeling task is complemented with numerical simulations in accordance with the experimental observations. Our model is derived from an accurate kinetic description of the mesoscopic run-and-tumble process performed by bacteria. This can account for recent experimental observations with E. coli. Qualitative agreements include the asymmetry of the pulse and transition in the collective behaviour (clustered motion versus dispersion). In addition, we can capture quantitatively the traveling speed of the pulse as well as its characteristic length. This work opens several experimental and theoretical perspectives since coefficients at the macroscopic level are derived from considerations at the cellular scale. For instance, the particular response of a single cell to chemical cues turns out to have a strong effect on collective motion. Furthermore, the bottom-up scaling allows us to perform preliminary mathematical analysis and write efficient numerical schemes. This model is intended as a predictive tool for the investigation of bacterial collective motion.

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000890

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@inproceedings{Saragosti2010MathematicalDO, title={Mathematical Description of Bacterial Traveling Pulses}, author={Jonathan Saragosti and Vincent Calvez and Nikolaos Bournaveas and Axel Buguin and Pascal Silberzan and Benoit Perthame}, booktitle={PLoS Computational Biology}, year={2010} }