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The Essence of Systems Chemistry
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle

Modelling Bacteria-Inspired Dynamics with Networks of Interacting Chemicals

1
School of Chemistry, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston B15 2TT, UK
2
Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of Sheffield, Sheffield S1 3JD, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 2 July 2019 / Revised: 24 July 2019 / Accepted: 25 July 2019 / Published: 29 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modelling Life-Like Behavior in Systems Chemistry)
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PDF [2283 KB, uploaded 29 July 2019]
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Abstract

One approach to understanding how life-like properties emerge involves building synthetic cellular systems that mimic certain dynamical features of living cells such as bacteria. Here, we developed a model of a reaction network in a cellular system inspired by the ability of bacteria to form a biofilm in response to increasing cell density. Our aim was to determine the role of chemical feedback in the dynamics. The feedback was applied through the enzymatic rate dependence on pH, as pH is an important parameter that controls the rates of processes in cells. We found that a switch in pH can be used to drive base-catalyzed gelation or precipitation of a substance in the external solution. A critical density of cells was required for gelation that was essentially independent of the pH-driven feedback. However, the cell pH reached a higher maximum as a result of the appearance of pH oscillations with feedback. Thus, we conclude that while feedback may not play a vital role in some density-dependent behavior in cellular systems, it nevertheless can be exploited to activate internally regulated cell processes at low cell densities. View Full-Text
Keywords: systems chemistry; reaction networks; autocatalysis; quorum sensing; bioinspired systems systems chemistry; reaction networks; autocatalysis; quorum sensing; bioinspired systems
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Bánsági, T., Jr.; Taylor, A.F. Modelling Bacteria-Inspired Dynamics with Networks of Interacting Chemicals. Life 2019, 9, 63.

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