How mathematical modelling elucidates signalling in B. subtilis


Appropriate stimulus perception, signal processing and transduction ensure optimal adaptation of bacteria to environmental challenges. In the Gram-positive model bacterium Bacillus subtilis signalling networks and molecular interactions therein are well-studied, making this species a suitable candidate for the application of mathematical modelling. Here, we review systems biology approaches, focusing on chemotaxis, sporulation, σB-dependent general stress response and competence. Processes like chemotaxis and Z-ring assembly depend critically on the subcellular localization of proteins. Environmental response strategies, including sporulation and competence, are characterized by phenotypic heterogeneity in isogenic cultures. The examples of mathematical modelling also include investigations that have demonstrated how operon structure and signalling dynamics are intricately interwoven to establish optimal responses. Our review illustrates that these interdisciplinary approaches offer new insights into the response of B. subtilis to environmental challenges. These case studies reveal modelling as a tool to increase the understanding of complex systems, to help formulating hypotheses and to guide the design of more directed experiments that test predictions.


Date Published: 1st Jul 2010

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Liebal, U. W., Millat, T., De Jong, I. G., Kuipers, O. P., Völker, U., & Wolkenhauer, O. (2010). How mathematical modelling elucidates signalling in Bacillus subtilis. Molecular Microbiology, 77(5), 1083–1095.

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Created: 6th Aug 2010 at 11:31

Last updated: 6th Aug 2010 at 11:32

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