Escherichia coli swimming is robust against variations in flagellar number

Patrick J. Mears, Santosh Koirala, Chris V. Rao, Ido Golding, Yann R. Chemla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Bacterial chemotaxis is a paradigm for how environmental signals modulate cellular behavior. Although the network underlying this process has been studied extensively, we do not yet have an end-to-end understanding of chemotaxis. Specifically, how the rotational states of a cell's flagella cooperatively determine whether the cell 'runs' or 'tumbles' remains poorly characterized. Here, we measure the swimming behavior of individual E. coli cells while simultaneously detecting the rotational states of each flagellum. We find that a simple mathematical expression relates the cell's run/tumble bias to the number and average rotational state of its flagella. However, due to inter-flagellar correlations, an 'effective number' of flagella-smaller than the actual number-enters into this relation. Data from a chemotaxis mutant and stochastic modeling suggest that fluctuations of the regulator CheY-P are the source of flagellar correlations. A consequence of inter-flagellar correlations is that run/tumble behavior is only weakly dependent on number of flagella.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere01916
JournaleLife
Volume2014
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 11 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Escherichia coli swimming is robust against variations in flagellar number'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this