The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 50: 309 - 314 (2006)

Vol 50, Issue 2-3

Special Issue: Developmental Morphodynamics

Spatial patterns formed by chemotactic bacteria Escherichia coli

Open Access | Published: 15 February 2006

Andrey A. Polezhaev1,*, Ruslan A. Pashkov2, Alexey I. Lobanov2 and Igor B. Petrov

1P.N. Lebedev Physical Institute, Moscow, Russia and 2Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Russia


In certain experimental conditions, bacteria form complex spatial-temporal patterns. A striking example of such kind was reported by Budrene and Berg (1991), who observed a wide variety of different colony structures ranging from arrays of spots to radially oriented stripes or arrangements of more complex elongated spots, formed by Escherichia coli. We discuss the relevant mechanisms of intercellular regulation in bacterial colony which may cause pattern formation, and formulate the corresponding mathematical model. In numerical experiments a variety of patterns, observed in real systems, is reproduced. The dynamics of their formation is investigated.


bacterial colony, chemotaxis, spatial pattern, mathematical modeling

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