Editors' ChoiceBiochemistry

Modeling Chemical Communication

Science Signaling  03 Feb 2009:
Vol. 2, Issue 56, pp. ec43
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.256ec43

In populations of single-celled organisms such as yeast, transitions can occur in their coordinated behavior that depend on their density in solution and that are believed to be triggered through chemical signaling. Taylor et al. modeled these transitions by studying large populations of chemical oscillators (about 100,000). Small porous particles that contained the catalyst that drives the oscillating Belousov-Zhabotinsky (BZ) reaction were studied suspended in solution with its reactants. A synchronization transition and a sudden dynamical quorum sensing transition were both observed as a function of oscillator density and the rate of exchange of signaling species through the surrounding solution.

A. F. Taylor, M. R. Tinsley, F. Wang, Z. Huang, K. Showalter, Dynamical quorum sensing and synchronization in large populations of chemical oscillators. Science 323, 614–617 (2009). [Abstract] [Full Text]