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Section: New Results

Bacterial motion by Rerun and tumble

Collective motion of chemotactic bacteria such as Escherichia coli relies, at the individual level, on a continuous reorientation by runs and tumbles. It has been established that the length of run is decided by a stiff response to a temporal sensing of chemical cues along the pathway. We describe a novel mechanism for pattern formation stemming from the stiffness of chemotactic response relying on a kinetic chemotaxis model which includes a recently discovered formalism for the bacterial chemotaxis [142]. We prove instability both for a microscopic description in the space-velocity space and for the macroscopic equation, a flux-limited Keller-Segel equation, which has attracted much attention recently. A remarkable property is that the unstable frequencies remain bounded, as it is the case in Turing instability. Numerical illustrations based on a powerful Monte Carlo method show that the stationary homogeneous state of population density is destabilized and periodic patterns are generated in realistic ranges of parameters. These theoretical developments are in accordance with several biological observations.

This motivates also our study of traveling wave and aggregation in population dynamics of chemotactic cells based on the FLKS model with a population growth term [86]. Our study includes both numerical and theoretical contributions. In the numerical part, we uncover a variety of solution types in the one-dimensional FLKS model additionally to standard Fisher/KPP type traveling wave. The remarkable result is a counter-intuitive backward traveling wave, where the population density initially saturated in a stable state transits toward an un- stable state in the local population dynamics. Unexpectedly, we also find that the backward traveling wave solution transits to a localized spiky solution as increasing the stiffness of chemotactic response. In the theoretical part, we obtain a novel analytic formula for the minimum traveling speed which includes the counter-balancing effect of chemotactic drift vs. reproduction/diffusion in the propagating front. The front propagation speeds of numerical results only slightly deviate from the minimum traveling speeds, except for the localized spiky solutions, even for the backward traveling waves. We also discover an analytic solution of unimodal traveling wave in the large-stiffness limit, which is certainly unstable but exists in a certain range of parameters.

Another activity concerns the relation between the tumbling rate and the internal state of bacteria. The study [58] aims at deriving models at the macroscopic scale from assumptions on the microscopic scales. In particular we are interested in comparisons between the stiffness of the response and the adaptation time. Depending on the asymptotics chosen both the standard Keller-Segel equation and the flux-limited Keller-Segel (FLKS) equation can appear. An interesting mathematical issue arises with a new type of equilibrium equation leading to solution with singularities.