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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 : Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Noninvasive inference of the molecular chemotactic response using bacterial trajectories

Scientific Fields
Diseases
Organisms
Applications
Technique

Published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America - 17 Jan 2012

Masson JB, Voisinne G, Wong-Ng J, Celani A, Vergassola M

Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 22307649

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2012 Jan;109(5):1802-7

The quality of sensing and response to external stimuli constitutes a basic element in the selective performance of living organisms. Here we consider the response of Escherichia coli to chemical stimuli. For moderate amplitudes, the bacterial response to generic profiles of sensed chemicals is reconstructed from its response function to an impulse, which then controls the efficiency of bacterial motility. We introduce a method for measuring the impulse response function based on coupling microfluidic experiments and inference methods: The response function is inferred using Bayesian methods from the observed trajectories of bacteria swimming in microfluidically controlled chemical fields. The notable advantages are that the method is based on the bacterial swimming response, it is noninvasive, without any genetic and/or mechanical preparation, and assays the behavior of the whole flagella bundle. We exploit the inference method to measure responses to aspartate and α-methylaspartate–measured previously by other methods–as well as glucose, leucine, and serine. The response to the attractant glucose is shown to be biphasic and perfectly adapted, as for aspartate. The response to the attractant serine is shown to be biphasic yet imperfectly adapted, that is, the response function has a nonzero (positive) integral. The adaptation of the response to the repellent leucine is also imperfect, with the sign of the two phases inverted with respect to serine. The diversity in the bacterial population of the response function and its dependency upon the background concentration are quantified.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22307649