What causes the spatial heterogeneity of bacterial flora in the intestine of zebrafish larvae?

Jinyou Yang, Yuji Shimogonya, Takuji Ishikawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Microbial flora in the intestine has been thoroughly investigated, as it plays an important role in the health of the host. Jemielita et al. (2014) showed experimentally that Aeromonas bacteria in the intestine of zebrafish larvae have a heterogeneous spatial distribution. Although bacterial aggregation is important biologically and clinically, there is no mathematical model describing the phenomenon and its mechanism remains largely unknown. In this study, we developed a computational model to describe the heterogeneous distribution of bacteria in the intestine of zebrafish larvae. The results showed that biological taxis could cause the bacterial aggregation. Intestinal peristalsis had the effect of reducing bacterial aggregation through mixing function. Using a scaling argument, we showed that the taxis velocity of bacteria must be larger than the sum of the diffusive velocity and background bulk flow velocity to induce bacterial aggregation. Our model and findings will be useful to further the scientific understanding of intestinal microbial flora.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-109
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jun 7


  • Microbial flora
  • Modeling
  • Numerical simulation
  • Peristalsis
  • Taxis
  • Zebrafish intestine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Modelling and Simulation
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Applied Mathematics


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