Reference : Mono-to-multilayer transition in growing bacterial colonies
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Life sciences : Biochemistry, biophysics & molecular biology
Mono-to-multilayer transition in growing bacterial colonies
Sengupta, Anupam mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Science, Technology and Communication (FSTC) > Physics and Materials Science Research Unit >]
[en] Soft Condensed Matter ; Biological Physics
[en] The transition from monolayers to multilayered structures in bacterial colonies is a fundamental step in biofilm development. Observed across different morphotypes and species, this transition is triggered within freely growing bacterial microcolonies comprising a few hundred cells. Using a combination of numerical simulations and analytical modeling, here we demonstrate that this transition originates from the competition between growth-induced in-plane active stresses and vertical restoring forces, due to the cell-substrate interactions. Using a simple chain-like colony of laterally confined cells, we show that the transition is triggered by the mechanical instability of individual cells, thus it is localized and mechanically deterministic. Asynchronous cell division renders the process stochastic, so that all the critical parameters that control the onset of the transition are continuously distributed random variables. Upon modeling cell division as a Poisson process, we can approximately calculate the probability distribution function of the position and time associated with the first extrusion. The rate of such a Poisson process can be identified as the order parameter of the transition, thus highlighting its mixed deterministic/stochastic nature.

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