Modelling the Bacterial Min System

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Tereza Puchrov, M. Leba, V. Babuka, D. Georgiev

University of West Bohemia, Czech Republic

Equal partitioning of bacteria at division is vital to many cellular functions and critical to engineering reliable biological behaviours. E. coli implement a simple self-regulatory mechanism to ensure precise division. The principle behind this mechanism is yet to be explained in literature. Herein, we explore the fundamental principles of the primary protein system (Min system) responsible for the underlying spatial-temporal dynamics. In contrast to existing complex stochastic simulations, we propose a nonlinear deterministic model that is simple yet capable of reproducing the observed behaviours. Random parameter space sampling and cluster analysis is subsequently used to identify parameter combinations that reproduce the observed behaviours robustly. A series of time-lapse microscopy experiments is designed to verify the model using two different E. coli strains expressing GFP-MinD fusions. Computational algorithms are developed to estimate intracellular protein oscillations and the precision of protein partitioning at division. Future work aims to apply the simple model trained on the experimental data to tune the precision of protein partitioning and to use the mechanism to regulate partitioning errors of other proteins fused to the Min proteins.