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© Thomas Gregor
The image shows a Drosophila embryo 2 hr after fertilization, with nuclei at the surface fluorescently labeled for Bicoid protein (blue), Hunchback protein (green), and DNA (red). Using two-photon microscopy these embryos were imaged to quantitatively characterize the dynamics and precision of how morphogen molecules communicate positional information to individual nuclei. In this example, the shallow Bicoid gradient generates a sharp Hunchback boundary (enlarged in the background), partitioning the embryo in half. This input/output relationship is quantitatively represented in the foreground (yellow), where each dot specifies the Bicoid concentration (horizontal axis) and Hunchback concentration (vertical axis) measured in a single nucleus. The results indicate that the precision with which the embryo interprets and locates this boundary is very high, approaching limits set by simple physical principles.
Publication : Nature

Chemotaxis as a navigation strategy to boost range expansion

Scientific Fields
Diseases
Organisms
Applications
Technique

Published in Nature - 06 Nov 2019

Cremer J, Honda T, Tang Y, Wong-Ng J, Vergassola M, Hwa T

Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 31695195

Nature 2019 Nov;

Bacterial chemotaxis, the directed movement of cells along gradients of chemoattractants, is among the best-characterized subjects in molecular biology, but much less is known about its physiological roles. It is commonly seen as a starvation response when nutrients run out, or as an escape response from harmful situations. Here we identify an alternative role of chemotaxis by systematically examining the spatiotemporal dynamics of Escherichia coli in soft agar. Chemotaxis in nutrient-replete conditions promotes the expansion of bacterial populations into unoccupied territories well before nutrients run out in the current environment. Low levels of chemoattractants act as aroma-like cues in this process, establishing the direction and enhancing the speed of population movement along the self-generated attractant gradients. This process of navigated range expansion spreads faster and yields larger population gains than unguided expansion following the canonical Fisher-Kolmogorov dynamics and is therefore a general strategy to promote population growth in spatially extended, nutrient-replete environments.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31695195