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© Inria / Photo C. Morel
Quantitative biology: numbers and fluorescent cells. InBio team (Inria/Institut Pasteur)
Publication : Nature Communications

Shaping bacterial population behavior through computer-interfaced control of individual cells

Scientific Fields
Diseases
Organisms
Applications
Technique

Published in Nature Communications - 16 Nov 2017

Remy Chait*, Jakob Ruess*, Tobias Bergmiller, Gašper Tkačik & Călin C. Guet

Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 29142298

Nat Commun. 2017 Nov 16;8(1):1535

Bacteria in groups vary individually, and interact with other bacteria and the environment to produce population-level patterns of gene expression. Investigating such behavior in detail requires measuring and controlling populations at the single-cell level alongside precisely specified interactions and environmental characteristics. Here we present an automated, programmable platform that combines image-based gene expression and growth measurements with on-line optogenetic expression control for hundreds of individual Escherichia coli cells over days, in a dynamically adjustable environment. This integrated platform broadly enables experiments that bridge individual and population behaviors. We demonstrate: (i) population structuring by independent closed-loop control of gene expression in many individual cells, (ii) cell–cell variation control during antibiotic perturbation, (iii) hybrid bio-digital circuits in single cells, and freely specifiable digital communication between individual bacteria. These examples showcase the potential for real-time integration of theoretical models with measurement and control of many individual cells to investigate and engineer microbial population behavior.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-017-01683-1