Flow-driven instabilities during pattern formation of Dictyostelium discoideum

A. Gholami, O. Steinbock, V. Zykov, E. Bodenschatz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The slime mold Dictyostelium discoideum is a well known model system for the study of biological pattern formation. In the natural environment, aggregating populations of starving Dictyostelium discoideum cells may experience fluid flows that can profoundly change the underlying wave generation process. Here we study the effect of advection on the pattern formation in a colony of homogeneously distributed Dictyostelium discoideum cells described by the standard Martiel-Goldbeter model. The external flow advects the signaling molecule cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) downstream, while the chemotactic cells attached to the solid substrate are not transported with the flow. The evolution of small perturbations in cAMP concentrations is studied analytically in the linear regime and by corresponding numerical simulations. We show that flow can significantly influence the dynamics of the system and lead to a flow-driven instability that initiate downstream traveling cAMP waves. We also show that boundary conditions have a significant effect on the observed patterns and can lead to a new kind of instability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number063007
JournalNew Journal of Physics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 8 2015


  • Dictyostelium discoideum
  • flow-driven instability
  • pattern formation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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