Analytical cell size distribution: lineage-population bias and parameter inference

We derive analytical steady-state cell size distributions for size-controlled cells in single-lineage experiments, such as the mother machine, which are fundamentally different from batch cultures where populations of cells grow freely. For exponential single-cell growth, characterizing most bacteria, the lineage-population bias is obtained explicitly. In addition, if volume is evenly split between the daughter cells at division, we show that cells are on average smaller in populations than in lineages. For more general power-law growth rates and deterministic volume partitioning, both symmetric and asymmetric, we derive the exact lineage distribution. This solution is in good agreement with Escherichia coli mother machine data and can be used to infer cell cycle parameters such as the strength of the size control and the asymmetry of the division. When introducing stochastic volume partitioning, we derive the large-size and small-size tails of the lineage distribution and show that the lineage-population bias only depends on the single-cell growth rate. These asymptotic behaviours are extended to the adder model of cell size control. When considering noisy single-cell growth rate, we derive the large-size lineage and population distributions. Finally, we show that introducing noise, either on the volume partitioning or on the single-cell growth rate, can cancel the lineage-population bias.


Published: November 2022

By: Arthur GENTHON


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