Non-genetic memory and restraint of cell-to-cell variation in bacteria

by Prof. Hanna Salman

Dept. of Physics & Astronomy, University of Pittsburgh
at Biological and soft-matter physics

Thu, 23 May 2024, 12:10
Sacta-Rashi Building for Physics (54), room 207


Non-genetic inheritance plays a fundamental role in determining cellular properties in future
generations and in restraining the proliferation of non-genetic cell-to-cell variation over time. It is,
therefore, important to be able to measure it and quantitatively characterize it reliably. In this talk I will
present our newly developed method that allows measuring and characterizing non-genetic inheritance
(or cellular memory) in the simple bacterial model organism E. coli. The method utilizes a novel
microfluidic device, coined “sisters machine”, that enables us to track and measure how two sister cells
become different from each other over time. Our measurements reveal how non-genetic inheritance
contributes to regulating the various cellular properties (e.g. size, growth rate, etc.) in future
generations. We find that non-genetic cellular memory is property specific, and can last up to ∼10
generations, but decreases under stress. The results obtained from this study can help uncover
mechanisms of non-genetic inheritance and adaptation to stress.

Created on 15-05-2024 by Feingold, Mario (mario)
Updaded on 15-05-2024 by Feingold, Mario (mario)