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Bacterial movement by run and tumble: models, patterns, pathways, scales

By Benoît Perthame

Appears in collection : Jean Morlet Chair 2021- Conference: Kinetic Equations: From Modeling Computation to Analysis / Chaire Jean-Morlet 2021 - Conférence : Equations cinétiques : Modélisation, Simulation et Analyse

At the individual scale, bacteria as E. coli move by performing so-called run-and-tumble movements. This means that they alternate a jump (run phase) followed by fast re-organization phase (tumble) in which they decide of a new direction for run. For this reason, the population is described by a kinetic-Botlzmann equation of scattering type. Nonlinearity occurs when one takes into account chemotaxis, the release by the individual cells of a chemical in the environment and response by the population.

These models can explain experimental observations, fit precise measurements and sustain various scales. They also allow to derive, in the diffusion limit, macroscopic models (at the population scale), as the Flux-Limited Keller-Segel system, in opposition to the traditional Keller-Segel system, this model can sustain robust traveling bands as observed in Adler’s famous experiment.

Furthermore, the modulation of the tumbles, can be understood using intracellular molecular pathways. Then, the kinetic-Boltzmann equation can be derived with a fast reaction scale. Long runs at the individual scale and abnormal diffusion at the population scale, can also be derived mathematically.

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Citation data

  • DOI 10.24350/CIRM.V.19735403
  • Cite this video Perthame Benoît (3/25/21). Bacterial movement by run and tumble: models, patterns, pathways, scales. CIRM. Audiovisual resource. DOI: 10.24350/CIRM.V.19735403
  • URL https://dx.doi.org/10.24350/CIRM.V.19735403



  • CALVEZ, Vincent, PERTHAME, Benoȋt, et YASUDA, Shugo. Traveling wave and aggregation in a flux-limited Keller-Segel model. Kinetic & Related Models, 2018, vol. 11, no 4, p. 891 - http://dx.doi.org/10.3934/krm.2018035
  • PERTHAME, Benoît, TANG, Min, et VAUCHELET, Nicolas. Derivation of the bacterial run-and-tumble kinetic equation from a model with biochemical pathway. Journal of mathematical biology, 2016, vol. 73, no 5, p. 1161-1178. - https://doi.org/10.1007/s00285-016-0985-5

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