Mesoscopic Modeling of Bacterial Flagellar Microhydrodynamics

TitleMesoscopic Modeling of Bacterial Flagellar Microhydrodynamics
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsGebremichael, Y, Ayton, GS, Voth, GA
JournalBiophys J
Keywords*Bacterial Physiological Phenomena Computer Simulation Flagella/*physiology Microfluidics/*methods *Models, Biological Motion

A particle-based hybrid method of elastic network model and smooth-particle hydrodynamics has been employed to describe the propulsion of bacterial flagella in a viscous hydrodynamic environment. The method explicitly models the two aspects of bacterial propulsion that involve flagellar flexibility and long-range hydrodynamic interaction of low-Reynolds-number flow. The model further incorporates the molecular organization of the flagellar filament at a coarse-grained level in terms of the 11 protofilaments. Each of these protofilaments is represented by a collection of material points that represent the flagellin proteins. A computational model of a single flexible helical segment representing the filament of a bacterial flagellum is presented. The propulsive dynamics and the flow fields generated by the motion of the model filament are examined. The nature of flagellar deformation and the influence of hydrodynamics in determining the shape of deformations are examined based on the helical filament.