A mathematical model of quorum sensing in a growing bacterial biofilm

D. L. Chopp, M. J. Kirisits, B. Moran, Matthew R. Parsek*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


In a process called quorum sensing, bacteria monitor their population density via extracellular signaling molecules and modulate gene expression accordingly. This paper describes a one-dimensional model of a growing Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilm. Quorum sensing has been included in the model by the addition of equations describing the production, degradation, and diffusion of acyl-homoserine lactones in the biofilm. In order for quorum sensing to initiate near the substratum, in accordance with experimental observations, model results suggest that cells in oxygen-deficient regions of the biofilm must still be synthesizing the signal compound. This result highlights the importance of careful study of the relationship between metabolic activity of the bacterium and signal synthesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)339-346
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Acyl-homoserine lactone
  • Biofilm
  • Cell-cell signaling
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Quorum sensing
  • Reaction-diffusion equation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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