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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology