Sequential establishment of stripe patterns in an expanding cell population

Chenli Liu, Xiongfei Fu, Lizhong Liu, Xiaojing Ren, Carlos K.L. Chau, Sihong Li, Lu Xiang, Hualing Zeng, Guanhua Chen, Lei Han TANG, Peter Lenz, Xiaodong Cui, Wei Huang*, Terence Hwa, Jian Dong Huang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

200 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Periodic stripe patterns are ubiquitous in living organisms, yet the underlying developmental processes are complex and difficult to disentangle. We describe a synthetic genetic circuit that couples cell density and motility. This system enabled programmed Escherichia coli cells to form periodic stripes of high and low cell densities sequentially and autonomously. Theoretical and experimental analyses reveal that the spatial structure arises from a recurrent aggregation process at the front of the continuously expanding cell population. The number of stripes formed could be tuned by modulating the basal expression of a single gene. The results establish motility control as a simple route to establishing recurrent structures without requiring an extrinsic pacemaker.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)238-241
Number of pages4
JournalScience
Volume334
Issue number6053
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Oct 2011

Scopus Subject Areas

  • General

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