Influence of fast advective flows on pattern formation of Dictyostelium discoideum

Torsten Eckstein, Estefania Vidal-Henriquez, Albert Bae, Vladimir Zykov, Eberhard Bodenschatz, Azam Gholami

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report experimental and numerical results on pattern formation of self-organizing Dictyostelium discoideum cells in a microfluidic setup under a constant buffer flow. 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. At high flow velocities, elongated cAMP waves are formed that cover the whole length of the channel and propagate both parallel and perpendicular to the flow direction. While the wave period and transverse propagation velocity are constant, parallel wave velocity and the wave width increase linearly with the imposed flow. We also observe that the acquired wave shape is highly dependent on the wave generation site and the strength of the imposed flow. We compared the wave shape and velocity with numerical simulations performed using a reaction-diffusion model and found excellent agreement. These results are expected to play an important role in understanding the process of pattern formation and aggregation of D. discoideum that may experience fluid flows in its natural habitat.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0194859
JournalPloS one
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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