Affiliation - Florida State University
Title of Talk - Mechanisms Underlying Spatiotemporal Patterning in Microbial Collectives
We describe a spatial Moran model that captures mechanical interactions and directional growth in spatially extended populations. The model is analytically tractable and completely solvable under a mean-field approximation and can elucidate the mechanisms that drive the formation of population-level patterns. As an example, we model a population of E. coli growing in a rectangular microfluidic trap. We show that spatial patterns can arise because of a tug-of-war between boundary effects and growth rate modulations due to cell-cell interactions: Cells align parallel to the long side of the trap when boundary effects dominate. However, when cell-cell interactions exceed a critical value, cells align orthogonally to the trap’s long side. This modeling approach and analysis can be extended to directionally growing cells in a variety of domains to provide insight into how local and global interactions shape collective behavior. As an example, we discuss how our model reveals how changes to a cell-shape describing parameter may manifest at the population level of the microbial collective. Specifically, we discuss mechanisms revealed by our model on how we may be able to control spatiotemporal patterning by modifying cell shape of a given strain in a multi-strain microbial consortium.