A Minimal Model of Metabolism-Based Chemotaxis
Egbert, Matthew D.
Barandiaran Fernández, Xabier Eugenio
Di Paolo, Ezequiel
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PLoS Comput Biol 6(12) : (2010) // e1001004
Since the pioneering work by Julius Adler in the 1960's, bacterial chemotaxis has been predominantly studied as metabolism-independent. All available simulation models of bacterial chemotaxis endorse this assumption. Recent studies have shown, however, that many metabolism-dependent chemotactic patterns occur in bacteria. We hereby present the simplest artificial protocell model capable of performing metabolism-based chemotaxis. The model serves as a proof of concept to show how even the simplest metabolism can sustain chemotactic patterns of varying sophistication. It also reproduces a set of phenomena that have recently attracted attention on bacterial chemotaxis and provides insights about alternative mechanisms that could instantiate them. We conclude that relaxing the metabolism-independent assumption provides important theoretical advances, forces us to rethink some established pre-conceptions and may help us better understand unexplored and poorly understood aspects of bacterial chemotaxis.