Tradeoffs between fast growth and adaptability shape microbial phenotypes
Markus Basan (ETH Zurich, Switzerland & Harvard University, USA)
SPECIAL LOCATION (due to renovation work at LPS)
Microorganisms exhibit a striking diversity of phenotypes in different conditions. Changes in growth rates are accompanied by large variations in metabolic strategies, gene expression and cell size. However, the molecular basis and underlying rationale of many of these complex patterns remains poorly understood. We illustrate how a quantitative approach, based on establishing empirical relations between cellular phenotypes, can help to elucidate such questions by focusing on three long-standing biological problems: the origin of overflow metabolism, the control of cell size and finally we provide an outlook on the emergence of severe, multi-hour lag phases. Coarse-grained models yield a quantitative and predictive understanding of phenotypic patterns under environmental as well as genetic perturbations and can even shed light on underlying molecular mechanisms. A common theme that emerges from these seemingly diverse questions is the existence of fundamental tradeoffs between fast growth and the ability to swiftly adapt to environmental changes or stress conditions.