Seminar by Kunihiko Kaneko – University of Copenhagen

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Seminar by Kunihiko Kaneko

Universal Laws in Adaptation and Evolution in Growing and Dormant Cells

Prof. Kunihiko Kaneko, University of Tokyo

The quantitative characterization of bacterial growth has attracted substantial attention since Monod’s pioneering study. Theoretical and experimental works have uncovered several laws for describing the exponential growth phase, in which the number of cells grows exponentially. However, microorganism growth also exhibits lag, stationary, and death phases under starvation conditions, in which cell growth is highly suppressed, for which quantitative laws or theories are markedly underdeveloped. Here, we propose a simple, coarse-grained cell model that includes an extra class of macromolecular components in addition to the autocatalytic active components that facilitate cellular growth. These extra components form a complex with the active components to inhibit the catalytic process. Depending on the nutrient condition, the model exhibits typical transitions among the lag, exponential, stationary, and death phases. Furthermore, the lag time needed for growth recovery after starvation follows the square root of the starvation time and is inversely related to the maximal growth rate,  in agreement with experimental observations.. Moreover, the lag time distributed among cells is skewed with a long time tail, also in agreement with experiments.
The present model and theoretical analysis provide universal growth laws beyond the exponential phase, offering insight into how cells halt growth without entering the death phase.

Further, if we have time we discuss some laws in adaptation and evolution at the exponential growth phase.