Chemotaxis as an emergent property of a swarm

Rion G. Taylor, Roy D. Welch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


We have characterized and quantified a form of bacterial chemotaxis that manifests only as an emergent property by measuring symmetry breaking in a swarm of Myxococcus xanthus exposed to a two-dimensional nutrient gradient from within an agar substrate. M. xanthus chemotaxis requires cell-cell contact and coordinated motility, as individual motile cells exhibit only nonvectorial movement in the presence of a nutrient gradient. Genes that specifically affect M. xanthus chemotaxis include at least 10 of the 53 that express enhancer binding proteins of the NtrC-like class, an indication that this behavior is controlled through transcription, most likely by a complex signal transduction network.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6811-6816
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of bacteriology
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology


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