J. Incandela: Coordination Between Multiple Bacterial Communities using Potassium Ion Signaling

  • Starts: 1:30 pm on Friday, April 28, 2023
  • Ends: 3:30 pm on Friday, April 28, 2023
In Bacillus subtilis biofilms, potassium ion signaling allows for long-distance communication and coordination between cells in mature colonies to regulate nutrient consumption. This intra-colony communication improves the robustness of a biofilm by increasing nutrient availability for cells in the interior. Less is known about electrochemical communication between multiple independent biofilms, where it has been observed that a state of nutrient starvation can be sensed by neighboring colonies. It is reasonable to imagine that multiple communities could find advantages in tuning their metabolisms to maximize viability of the multi-colony system. Using custom, large-chamber microfluidic devices, we build toward the study of potassium ion signaling dynamics between adjacent B. subtilis biofilms to characterize how separate colonies couple their electrochemical signaling to efficiently allocate nutrients in stressful environments. This will enable a deeper understanding of how collective decision-making abilities emerge from signaling networks between single-celled organisms.
SCI 328
Joey Incandela
Boston University
M. Kamenetska