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PLoS Computational Biology Issue Image | Vol. 9(9) September 2013

PLoS Computational Biology Issue Image | Vol. 9(9) September 2013

PLOS
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A population of photosynthetic cyanobacteria move towards a light source, splitting into groups that exhibit a distinct fingering morphology.

The image shows cyanobacterial cells on a moist surface, moving towards a directed light source. This phototactic behavior results in striking and regularly ordered "fingers" of cell groups. We model this behavior as a biased random walk, which, in combination with cell-mediated surface modification, recapitulates many experimentally observed features. By tuning cellular concentration and light intensity, we show that this behavior follows robust scaling laws and only emerges under certain conditions, and may be a general mechanism for cells to change their group behavior in response to external cues. See Ursell et al.

Image Credit: photo/image attributed to Devaki Bhaya and image overlay to Rosanna Chau and Tristan Ursell.

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A population of photosynthetic cyanobacteria move towards a light source, splitting into groups that exhibit a distinct fingering morphology.

The image shows cyanobacterial cells on a moist surface, moving towards a directed light source. This phototactic behavior results in striking and regularly ordered "fingers" of cell groups. We model this behavior as a biased random walk, which, in combination with cell-mediated surface modification, recapitulates many experimentally observed features. By tuning cellular concentration and light intensity, we show that this behavior follows robust scaling laws and only emerges under certain conditions, and may be a general mechanism for cells to change their group behavior in response to external cues. See Ursell et al.

Image Credit: photo/image attributed to Devaki Bhaya and image overlay to Rosanna Chau and Tristan Ursell.

https://doi.org/10.1371/image.pcbi.v09.i09.g001