Cellular waves formed during collective bacterial predation

Tâm Mignot
Laboratoire de Chimie Bactérienne, CNRS-Aix Marseille Université, 31 chemin Joseph Aiguier, 13009 Marseille
A current challenge in developmental biology is to bridge molecular and multicellular scales. This task is especially complex in animals given that the dimension gap spans several orders of magnitude. In this context, multicellular microbes can be especially powerful because their lifecycle rarely exceeds a few days and it can be captured over relatively small surfaces in devices as simple as a petri dish. In addition, these organisms allow sophisticated genetic manipulations and imaging approaches. In our laboratory, we study Myxococcus xanthus for its ability to predate and develop collectively over other microbial preys. During this presentation, I will present an interdisciplinary approach combining genetics, quantitative imaging and mathematical modeling to decipher how single Myxococcus cells direct their movements and cooperate to develop collectively and form periodic patterns called rippling waves over prey bacteria. In general, the findings suggest that symmetry breaking and pattern formation arise by biochemical oscillations, that arise from short range interactions and propagated from discrete sites in the community.