Influence of topology on bacterial social interaction

Sungsu Park, Peter M. Wolanin, Emil A. Yuzbashyan, Hai Lin, Nicholas C. Darnton, Jeffry B. Stock, Pascal Silberzan, Robert Austin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

159 Scopus citations


The environmental topology of complex structures is used by Escherichia coli to create traveling waves of high cell density, a prelude to quorum sensing. When cells are grown to a moderate density within a confining microenvironment, these traveling waves of cell density allow the cells to find and collapse into confining topologies, which are unstable to population fluctuations above a critical threshold. This was first observed in mazes designed to mimic complex environments, then more clearly in a simpler geometry consisting of a large open area surrounding a square (250 × 250 μm) with a narrow opening of 10-30 μm. Our results thus show that under nutrient-deprived conditions bacteria search out each other in a collective manner and that the bacteria can dynamically confine themselves to highly enclosed spaces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13910-13915
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue numberSUPPL. 2
StatePublished - Nov 25 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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