Self-Driven Phase Transitions Drive Myxococcus xanthus Fruiting Body Formation

Guannan Liu, Adam Patch, Fatmagül Bahar, David Yllanes, Roy D. Welch, M. Cristina Marchetti, Shashi Thutupalli, Joshua W. Shaevitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Combining high-resolution single cell tracking experiments with numerical simulations, we show that starvation-induced fruiting body formation in Myxococcus xanthus is a phase separation driven by cells that tune their motility over time. The phase separation can be understood in terms of cell density and a dimensionless Péclet number that captures cell motility through speed and reversal frequency. Our work suggests that M. xanthus takes advantage of a self-driven nonequilibrium phase transition that can be controlled at the single cell level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number248102
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number24
StatePublished - Jun 20 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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