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TU Berlin

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Project C.4: Chemical regulation of aggregation and pattern formation of gliding bacteria

The main aim is to develop realistic models for aggregation and pattern formation in myxobacteria at the microscopic (agent-based models with Langevin dynamics) and macroscopic level (continuum equations of reaction-diffusion-advection type). The models shall contain basic physical properties (self-propulsion, volume exclusion and nematic alignment of bacteria), the reversal rate of individual cells as well as the change in the reversal rate caused by cell-to-cell interactions and possible adaptions to adverse conditions. First, an agent-based model shall be build that combines the properties of earlier agent-based Vicsek-type models with regard to self-propulsion and nematic alignment and the reversal dynamics that depends on an internal clock (biochemical oscillator) as well as collision and biochemical signaling between cells. The model parameters include cell density, rotational noise and the reversal frequency of cells.
By changing the parameters the following experimentally observed but not yet understood phenomena shall be qualitatively modeled: (i) Network structures in reversing bacteria at low densities, (ii) street formation (polar bands) of bacteria, (iii) formation of three-dimensional mounds from collision of two-dimensional streets, (iv) transition from rippling patterns to aggregation upon decrease of reversal frequency, and (v) patterns in mixture of wild-type reversing cells and non-reversing mutants. Moreover, a corresponding continuum model of reaction-diffusion-advection type shall be developed in parallel and analyzed with regard to instabilities and bifurcations as well as to nonlinear waves and pattern solutions. The prediction of this model shall be compared to the result of the simulations of the agent-based model.

Project leaders: Prof. Dr. M. BärProf. Dr. H. Engel

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