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During the aggregation of amoebae of the cellular slime mould Dictyostelium, the interaction of chemical waves of the signaling molecule cAMP with cAMP-directed cell movement causes the breakup of a uniform cell layer into branching patterns of cell streams. Recent numerical and experimental investigations emphasize the pivotal role of the cell-density dependence of the chemical wave speed for the occurrence of the streaming instability. A simple, analytically tractable, model of Dictyostelium aggregation is developed to test this idea. The interaction of cAMP waves with cAMP-directed cell movement is studied in the form of coupled dynamics of wave front geometries and cell density. Comparing the resulting explicit instability criterion and dispersion relation for cell streaming with the previous findings of model simulations and numerical stability analyses, a unifying interpretation of the streaming instability as a cAMP wave-driven chemotactic instability is proposed. © 1997 The American Physical Society.

Original publication




Journal article


Physical Review E - Statistical Physics, Plasmas, Fluids, and Related Interdisciplinary Topics

Publication Date





2074 - 2080