Modeling local interactions during the motion of cyanobacteria
Synechocystis sp., a common unicellular freshwater cyanobacterium, has been used as a model organism to study phototaxis, an ability to move in the direction of a light source. This microorganism displays a number of additional characteristics such as delayed motion, surface dependence, and a quasi-random motion, where cells move in a seemingly disordered fashion instead of in the direction of the light source, a global force on the system. These unexplained motions are thought to be modulated by local interactions between cells such as intercellular communication. In this paper, we consider only local interactions of these phototactic cells in order to mathematically model this quasi-random motion. We analyze an experimental data set to illustrate the presence of quasi-random motion and then derive a stochastic dynamic particle system modeling interacting phototactic cells. The simulations of our model are consistent with experimentally observed phototactic motion.