Collective Space-Sensing Coordinates Pattern Scaling in Engineered Bacteria.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Scale invariance refers to the maintenance of a constant ratio of developing organ size to body size. Although common, its underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood. Here, we examined scaling in engineered Escherichia coli that can form self-organized core-ring patterns in colonies. We found that the ring width exhibits perfect scale invariance to the colony size. Our analysis revealed a collective space-sensing mechanism, which entails sequential actions of an integral feedback loop and an incoherent feedforward loop. The integral feedback is implemented by the accumulation of a diffusive chemical produced by a colony. This accumulation, combined with nutrient consumption, sets the timing for ring initiation. The incoherent feedforward is implemented by the opposing effects of the domain size on the rate and duration of ring maturation. This mechanism emphasizes a role of timing control in achieving robust pattern scaling and provides a new perspective in examining the phenomenon in natural systems.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Cao, Y; Ryser, MD; Payne, S; Li, B; Rao, CV; You, L

Published Date

  • April 21, 2016

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 165 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 620 - 630

PubMed ID

  • 27104979

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC4841918

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1097-4172

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.cell.2016.03.006


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States