Bacteria are ubiquitous in our daily lives, either as motile planktonic cells or as immobilized surface-attached bio lms. These di erent phenotypic states play key roles in agriculture, environment, industry, and medicine; hence, it is critically important to be able to predict the conditions under which bacteria transition from one state to the other. Unfortunately, these transitions depend on a dizzyingly complex array of factors that are determined by the intrinsic properties of the individual cells as well as those of their surrounding environments, and are thus challenging to describe. To address this issue, here, we develop a generally-applicable biophysical model of the interplay between motility-mediated dispersal and bio lm formation under positive quorum sensing control. Using this model, we establish a universal rule predicting how the onset and extent of bio lm formation depend collectively on cell concentration and motility, nutrient di usion and consumption, chemotactic sensing, and autoinducer production. Our work thus provides a key step toward quantitatively predicting and controlling bio lm formation in diverse and complex settings.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
- General Immunology and Microbiology
- General Neuroscience