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Collective Dynamics of Model Pili-Based Twitcher-Mode Bacilliforms

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Original languageEnglish
Article number10747
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2020


Pseudomonas aeruginosa, like many bacilliforms, are not limited only to swimming motility but rather possess many motility strategies. In particular, twitching-mode motility employs hair-like pili to transverse moist surfaces with a jittery irregular crawl. Twitching motility plays a critical role in redistributing cells on surfaces prior to and during colony formation. We combine molecular dynamics and rule-based simulations to study twitching-mode motility of model bacilliforms and show that there is a critical surface coverage fraction at which collective effects arise. Our simulations demonstrate dynamic clustering of twitcher-type bacteria with polydomains of local alignment that exhibit spontaneous correlated motions, similar to rafts in many bacterial communities.

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