Motility allows diverse types of organisms from bacteria to humans to seek out favourable environments providing, for instance, nutrients, light, or company. Often motility behavior follows particular patterns: For example, roaming and dwelling in C. elegans worms, or truncated Lévy flights in human mobile phone users. It stands to reason that there must be a relationship between the type of motility pattern an organisms uses and the typical tasks that nature selects it to perform well in. On the other hand, how an organism moves must also be limited by what is physically possible: Worms cannot fly. Thus, both ecology and physics must play a role in the natural selection of motility patterns.
The Taute lab uses the simplest motile organisms - bacteria - to study how natural diversity in motility patterns is shaped by physical constraints and ecological requirements. Our main tool is a simple, new 3D tracking technique (recently published in Nature Communcations) which allows the rapid characterization of the motile behaviour of almost arbitrary bacterial species at high throughput.
- K.M. Taute, S. Gude, S.J. Tans, & T.S. Shimizu. High-throughput 3D tracking of bacteria on a standard phase contrast microscope. Nature Communications 6:8776, 2015.
- K.M. Taute, S. Gude, P. Nghe, and S.J. Tans. Evolutionary constraints in variable environments, from proteins to networks. Trends in Genetics 30(5):192-198, 2014.
- R. Huang, I. Chavez, K.M. Taute, B. Lukic, S. Jeney, M.G. Raizen, and E.-L. Florin. Direct observation of the full transition from ballistic to diffusive Brownian motion in a liquid. Nature Physics, 7(7):576-580, 2011.
- K.M. Taute, F. Pampaloni and E.-L. Florin. Extracting the mechanical properties of microtubules from thermal fluctuation measurements on an attached tracer particle. Methods in Cell Biology, “Microtubules, in vitro”, Ed. L.Wilson and J.J. Correia, Volume 95, Chapter 30, pp 601-615, 2010.
- K.M. Taute, F. Pampaloni, E. Frey and E.-L. Florin. Microtubule dynamics depart from the wormlike chain model. Physical Review Letters 100(2):028102, 2008.
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