Philip Pearce, University College London
From Greg McCracken
This recording is in the process of being subtitled. We aim to have edited captions available within 2 weeks of publishing.
Title: Emergent robustness of bacterial quorum sensing in fluid flow
Abstract: Bacteria use intercellular signalling, or quorum sensing (QS), to share information and respond collectively to aspects of their surroundings. The autoinducers that carry this information are exposed to the external environment; consequently, they are affected by factors such as removal through fluid flow, a ubiquitous feature of bacterial habitats ranging from the gut and lungs to lakes and oceans. Here, we develop and apply a general theory that identifies the conditions required for QS activation in fluid flow by linking cell- and population-level genetic and physical processes. By accounting for a dynamic flow in our theory, we predict that positive feedback in cells acts as a low-pass filter at the population level in oscillatory flow, allowing a population to respond only to changes in flow that occur over slow enough timescales. Our theory is readily extendable and provides a framework for assessing the functional roles of diverse QS network architectures in realistic flow conditions.