Mathematical Medicine and Biology seminar | Hermann Eberl, Bacteria Yelling: Intercolony Communication in Bacterial BiofilmExport this event to calendar

Wednesday, April 10, 2013 — 2:30 PM EDT

BI 266

Speaker

Hermann Eberl, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Guelph

Title

Bacteria Yelling: Intercolony Communication in Bacterial Biofilm

Abstract

Bacterial biofilms are microbial depositions on immersed surfaces that form wherever environmental conditions sustain microbial growth. Bacteria attach to the surface and start producing extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) in which they are themselves embedded. In this talk we present a mathematical model of quorum sensing in biofilm communities and assess it suitability as a mechanism for signaling based communication between colonies.

Quorum sensing is a mechanism whereby cells produce and sense signaling molecules. If the local signal concentration surpasses a threshold, cells upregulate and change behavior. Originally quorum sensing was understood as a mechanism, which cells use to detect population size and by which they communicate to synchronize behavior if the population reaches a certain strength. Accounting, however, also for the diffusibility of the signal and the spatial organization of many cell populations, this strict sense interpretation of quorum sensing is called into doubt. In this talk we present a mathematical model, computer simulations and some analytical results of this phenomenon. In particular we show (i) how simple mass transfer can interfere with quorum sensing in the strict sense, and (ii) how, based on this, quorum sensing, controlled EPS production can provide an efficient mechanism to switch between an initial mode of colonization and a mode of protected growth.

This is joint work with Christina Kuttler (TU Munich), Burkhard Hense (Helmholtz Center Munich), and Mallory Frederik (Guelph, now OME).

Location 
B1 - Biology 1
B1 266
200 University Avenue West

Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1
Canada

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