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Phys Rev Lett. 2019 Jun 21;122(24):248102. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.122.248102.

Self-Driven Phase Transitions Drive Myxococcus xanthus Fruiting Body Formation.

Author information

1
Joseph Henry Laboratories of Physics and Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey 08544, USA.
2
Department of Physics and Soft and Living Matter Program, Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York 13244, USA.
3
Department of Biology, Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York 13244, USA.
4
Instituto de Biocomputación y Física de Sistemas Complejos (BIFI), 50009 Zaragoza, Spain.
5
Department of Physics, University of California Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, California 93106, USA.
6
Simons Center for the Study of Living Machines, National Centre for Biological Sciences, Tata Institute for Fundamental Research, Bangalore 560065, India.

Abstract

Combining high-resolution single cell tracking experiments with numerical simulations, we show that starvation-induced fruiting body formation in Myxococcus xanthus is a phase separation driven by cells that tune their motility over time. The phase separation can be understood in terms of cell density and a dimensionless Péclet number that captures cell motility through speed and reversal frequency. Our work suggests that M. xanthus takes advantage of a self-driven nonequilibrium phase transition that can be controlled at the single cell level.

PMID:
31322369
DOI:
10.1103/PhysRevLett.122.248102
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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